What to Know About Greek Brandy

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Glass of cognac on the vintage wooden barrel.Brandy is a type of spirit that is made from distilling wine and then storing it in oak barrels with other flavorings. Each part of the world has its own variation. Greek brandy is fairly unique and while all Greeks know about this spirit, it wasn’t always widespread in the country. For instance, the Metaxa brand didn’t come about until 1888. It started off as being made in the traditional way by aging it in oak casks. Over time, sweeteners and spices were also added. This is now a favorite beverage amongst Greeks and non-Greeks alike.

Now, however, Brandy is extremely common and Metaxa isn’t the only brand that is out there. Here’s some more information about Greek brandy:

Where Brandy is Found

Brandy can be found all over Greece, especially on the mainland, Peloponnese, and several of the islands. For those visiting Greece, brandy can almost certainly be found in the tourists shops so that people can take it home. However, despite the fact that it is extremely common. In fact, Metaxa, Greece’s most popular brandy, is exported to over 100 countries throughout the world.

Brandy Vs. Brand Liquer

Although Metaxa is the most popular Greek brandy, those who know a lot about this spirit are quick to point out that it could also be considered a brandy liqueur. Since both sweetening agents and spices are added to the beverage before during the process of producing it, some try to say that it is actually a brandy liqueur. Most Greeks disagree and embrace it as a delicious brandy that they can enjoy on a regular basis. There are some other brands of brandy available in Greece, however, and some are considered brandy liqueurs and others are considered to be pure brandies. It really all depends on what you like to drink.


Making a Toast While Drinking Brandy

Like most things in Greece, drinking brandy is greeted with a bit of a ceremony. When sharing this spirit with friends and family, portions of it are poured into glasses, usually a brandy glass or a shot glass if the special brandy glasses aren’t available. From there, it is fairly common to make a toast before drinking. The toast depends on the situation. For instance, the person making the toast usually wishes everyone good health.

Using Brandy in Cooking

Besides being a delicious spirit that people enjoy sipping, brandy is often used in Greek cooking. For instance, many Greek desserts use brandy, and some even put into into their baklava syrup! Other recipes include adding brandy to cookies such as koulourakia and even paximadia. There are several savory dishes that also include brandy, such as saganaki, which is the flaming cheese dish that is so popular in tavernas and Greek restaurants.

Although brandy wasn’t originally part of the Greek culture, it is now extremely common and can even be found in the cooking! Whether or not you drink Metaxa or one of the other brands, you will certainly enjoy a traditional experience.

Check out our Greek cocktail recipes. Some do include Metaxa, or Greek Brandy!


Wikipedia – Metaxa

Wikipedia – Brandy

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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