Interesting Things That Greeks Drink

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Closeup image of real attractive female beauty holding cup of coffeeI was recently in an herbal shop in Heraklion, on the island of Crete, where I sampled a syrupy almond drink called Soumada. At the time, I thought it was an interesting creation that the proprietor made for our enjoyment. However, I quickly realized that this simple beverage was so common that many tourist shops even had it! As an American with Greek descent, I realized that everything I knew about Greek beverages was incredibly limited. Their repertoire of beverages was a lot wider than I thought.

Here’s a list of some of the beverages I already knew that the Greek people drink on a regular basis:

  • Coffee. Greeks made hot coffee differently than I do at home. Greek coffee is made with a long handled pot called a briki and served with the grounds still in the cup.
  • Wine. Greeks certainly love wine and have been making it for thousands of years. Retsina is an interesting wine that gets its distinct flavor from the resin of an evergreen tree.
  • Beer. Thanks to the Bavarian influence (the former King of Greece came from Bavaria) beer is a fairly common fixture in Greece. Many beers are brewed in the German style.
  • Alcohol. Spirits such as raki, ouzo, and even brandy are also commonly consumed in Greece. Raki, for instance, is the preferred choice on the island of Crete.
  • Tea. In Greece, tea is made from native plants plucked straight from the ground. Sure, you can buy the tea in stores, but most people seem to grow or pick their own. They drink chamomile and other native plants on a regular basis.

However, that’s not all they drink. The Greek people have a score of interesting beverages that I didn’t even realize existed until I spent more time in Greece. Here’s a list of some of the most unique and unexpected beverages I’ve seen so far:

Fruit Syrups

As mentioned above, I had my first taste of soumada, which is a traditional almond syrup, while on the island of Crete. Since then, I noticed that there are other popular fruit syrups – vissinada, which is made of cherry, lemonada, which is made from lemons, portokoloada, made from oranges, and granita, which is made from pomegranates. The syrups are made when the fruits are in season, and then mixed with cold water to create a refreshing drink on a hot day.

Nutritious Waters

Chamomile TeaMany of these nutritious drinks have their roots in Ancient Greece. They’re also a living example of how the people don’t ever let anything go to waste. Here are some of the most nutritious beverages the people drink on a regular basis. Here are some of the things that are used”

  • Greens. When they boil greens to make their signature dish, horta, they don’t throw away the water – they drink it! As it turns out, this is where a lot of the nutrition from the greens ends up.
  •  Wheat. While making kollya, a traditional boiled wheat dish, the resulting water is turned into a beverage. People add chopped almonds, sesame seeds, raisins, parsley, and even salt to the mixture to make something delicious and truly unique. It closely resembles kekeo, an ancient drink.
  • Honey. Water is often mixed with honey to make a simple, thirst quenching drink. It’s served either hot or cold. In some versions, honeyed vinegar is used instead of plain honey.

What is the most interesting Greek beverage you’ve ever had?

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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