The best way to celebrate Clean Monday is with a variety of ouzos and tsipouros, alongside a table full of delicious appetizers.
In Greece, we love ouzo and tsipouro because they combine perfectly with all kinds of appetizers and cheer us up to say OPA!
So here are top of the best you can buy in Greece, as compiled by Olive Magazine:
A modern expression of Greece's traditional spirit with a recognisable taste and distinct character. It is from the Costa Lazaridis estate.
In its aromas, as is natural, is anise, but the subtle presence of mastic, citrus fruits and mint make the difference.
Its strong flavour and peppery aftertaste go well with all our favourite fried foods, from zucchini and eggplant to calamari, shrimp and anchovies.
Price: About €11.50 (700ml) on the shelf
Since 1957, the Pitsiladi distillery produces exclusively and only authentic Plomari ouzo from 100% distillate according to a secret family recipe.
Traditional techniques, top quality raw materials and limited production ensure its exceptional taste, which has die-hard fans. Salted sardine, smoked eel, spicy mussels and vinegar octopus go well with it.
Price: About €18 (700ml) on the shelf
Traditional ouzo from the Seraphim family, which since 1863 follows the same ancestral process. Its taste is soft and round, so balanced that it wins over not only lovers of the favourite spirit but also those who do not particularly prefer ouzo.
Its favourite flavour pairings: dolmades, fava beans, pumpkin balls, sea urchin salad and mussel pilaf.
Price: About €11 (700ml) on the shelf
This ouzo comes from the Zacharias family's Lost Lake distillery. Here, tradition and innovation go together, winning impressions on all levels, from appearance to taste. The exuberant aromas of anise complement notes of mastic.
Delicious and sweet, it calls for strong appetizers to stand out, such as hot pickled peppers, anchovies and seared octopus.
Price: About €10 (700ml) on the shelf
This ouzo is made from A to Z by the Matarelli family. The organic anise is grown on their estates in Lisvori Lesvos and the distillation takes place in small copper stills in Plomari.
But what makes its taste and aroma unique is the Mytilene honey it contains. Its ideal companions are the white taramosalata, baked gigantes and the lemon cuttlefish.
Price: About €13 (700ml) on the shelf.
Assyrtiko, Malagouzia and Muscat of Alexandria in a well-crafted spirit from Xyropotamos of Drama. This particular version that does not contain anise has a full, smooth taste and characteristic aromas.
It balances well in the mouth and its aftertaste lasts a delightfully long time. A few thin slices of pastourma and sutzuki, along with some Xanthi kasseri, is enough for it to become a favourite.
Price: About €13 (700ml), on the shelf
Κατώγι Αβέρωφ (Katogi Averof)
Tsipouro without anise with a subtle aroma and finesse, a soft taste. It is made from the stems of the grapes used to produce the excellent wines of the same name (40% red, 40% white, 20% rosé).
It goes well with any Greek appetizer, from smoked herring and vinegar octopus to Lefkada salami and Cretan sausages.
Price: About €11.50 (500ml), on the shelf
All the typical characteristics of Malagouzia in a traditional spirit without anise. Intensely aromatic with lemon, tangerine, violet and sage standing out. Bold body with mild alcohol, accented taste of apricot and lavender, long peppery aftertaste.
The drink prefers pickles of all kinds and ointments made of yogurt and herbs.
Price: About €11.50 (500ml), on the shelf
Sweetened grape sensation in a spirit that from the first sip slightly and pleasantly numbs the mouth. Local fruit varieties from Thessaly and aromatic anise produced in North Evia give this tsipouro an unforgettable taste.
From smoked pork to marinated anchovies, meat and fish, all flavours suit it equally.
Price: About €12 (700ml) on the shelf
Known for its "sweet" taste and rich aromas, this double-distilled aniseed tsipouro not only has its own distinct identity but also has many loyal fans. Enjoy plain or with minimal ice in the company of seafood flavours such as e.g. saganaki prawns, grilled sardines and stuffed squid.
Price: About €13.50 (700ml) on the shelf