10 Greek Liquors to Make You Feel Like You’re in Athens

From hummus to gyros to wine, Greece has given the world some sensational food and drink. But many Greek liquors offer dazzling flavors and unique ingredients.

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Bottle of Metaxa, a Greek  liquor based on brandy blended with wine and flavorings

If you adore Greek flavors, food, and wine, try one of the remarkable Greek spirits many people don’t know about.

Keep reading to learn more about ten of the yummiest Greek liquors and some associated traditions.

Greece has an impressive list of aromatic and bold spirits. Read about the ten most iconic Greek liquors below.

Bottles of greek liquors


Ouzo is a delicious anise-flavored drink from Greece. The spirit is generally consumed as an aperitif after dinner and undergoes a rigorous distillation process. It has an ABV of around 45% and uses rectified spirits to create a rich and punchy flavor.

 Different types of ouzo bottles

It’s similar to sambuca and other anise-flavored liquors. The licorice and anise flavor are best as a shooter, but you can also sip it over ice or incorporate it into a cocktail.

But it’s usually drunk straight from a shot glass. It’s also the national drink of Greece, traditionally served with Greek meze, usually small fresh fish.


Metaxa is a super smooth amber liquor with an aromatic and warm flavor. It’s made with aromatic Muscat wines from islands in the Aegean sea. It’s technically a Greek brandy and delivers the familiar spiced and robust taste of this type of brandy.

 Metaxa bottles on shelves

Some people drink it straight from a short glass, pour it over ice in a whisky glass, or create a cocktail. A popular use for this Greek liquor is in a tall glass with ginger, lemon, cucumber, or orange peel.

This drink is zesty and layered with rich flavors. Metaxa has an ABV of around 40%.


Tsipouro is another type of Greek brandy, but is unaged and comes from specific towns on Crete, including Thessaly, Epirus, and Macedonia.

It has a sweet and tart flavor with hints of anise, but not as bold as Ouzo. But it’s still considered an anise-flavored liquor.

This authentic Greek product is a strong drink with an ABV of around 50% but can be as low as 40%. The alcohol is produced from the residue of the wine press once the grapes and juice are separated. Essentially, this liquor is made from wine production leftovers.


Mastika is a Greek liqueur seasoned with resin from the mastic tree, a cedar-like tree native to Greece and other Mediterranean countries. The flavor of this spirit is woody with refreshing notes of pine and a biting flavor.

The ABV can be anywhere between 15% and 50%, as it depends on the distiller. Some consider this another anise-flavored liquor, but the fresh and bitter taste comes from the mastic tree, not anise flowers.

It was traditionally an aperitif, but you can now find mastika in many cocktails, like mojitos, smashes, coolers, and spritzes. It adds a refreshing but pungent flavor that is irreplaceable.


This drink is also known as Raki in Crete and is an incredibly important aspect of the Rakokazana Festival. The spirit is served with small fresh fish and other Greek meze plates during the festival, which celebrates wine production.

a bottle of alcohol and a shot of Tsikoudia

Raki or tsikoudia is made from grape marc or pomace and has a fragrant and fruity flavor. It’s best when served chilled or over ice, and many Greeks take shots of it to celebrate.

This beverage comes out on almost every special occasion and symbolizes friendship and nobility. The ABV is usually around 50% but can be as low as 40% or as high as 655.


Rakomelo is a mixed drink from Greece that has a rich honey taste, as it combines raki and some honey. It’s a digestive that many Greeks use as a home remedy for a cold, sore throat, or cough.

Filling up a snap shot with traditional Greek rakomelo

It has a sticky and syrupy texture that coats your mouth and throat with a soothing feeling. The unapologetic fruity flavor is vivid and bold with underlying notes of nuttiness that add some warmth.

It has a very delicate and memorable mouthfeel and a slight spiciness, similar to ginger or cloves. The ABV is usually above 25%.


Of all the Greek liquors on this list, mournoraki is likely the rarest. It hails from the island of Crete and is distilled from black mulberries, creating a decadent and fruity flavor.

It’s a super-potent beverage with an ABV that is at least 40% but can be much higher. The drink is often served as a welcome drink when people visit or as a meal accompaniment.

Some people add orange peel, cinnamon sticks, or cloves to add a bit of spice. Unfortunately, this delicious drink is hard to find outside of Greece.


Zivania is a Greek brandy made using a mixture of grape marc and dry wines from Greek islands. This spirit can only be made using Xynisteri and Mavro grapes because they deliver a bolder flavor.

Despite being distilled and fermented like traditional wine, zivania is a spirit and has a high ABV of 50%. The ABV can range from 40% to 60%, depending on the fermentation process.

It’s traditionally sipped over ice at any time of the day, but people also mix it with sparkling water and soda. The light and aromatic flavor can make delicious citrus cocktails.


Souma is an alcoholic beverage from the Greek city of Chios. It comes from sun-dried and slow-fermented figs. The figs sit in copper stills for a long time to deepen the flavor of this alcohol.

The process for making this is similar to Ouzo or Raki, but the key is fresh Greek figs. And the result is a honeyed and fruity flavor that is decadent but airy.

It tastes like juicy nectar with the sharpness of alcohol. The ABV of this Greek liquor is about 45%. Like many Greek spirits, souma is decadent and lavish.


This Greek liquor has been around for centuries, dating back to ancient times on the island of Amorgos. It has a bold and luscious honey flavor with spicy notes of clove and cinnamon flavor. It has a roasted and toasty taste that is warm and soothing.

It’s a popular digestif on the Greek islands and has an ABV of 20%, so not particularly strong. The base of this drink is Raki, a different type of liquor discussed above.

This drink is one of the most delicious alcoholic beverages in Greece, with a sweet and smooth taste.

Greek Liquor: 10 National Drinks to Try

  1. Ouzo
  2. Metaxa
  3. Tsipouro
  4. Mastika
  5. Tsikoudia
  6. Rakomelo
  7. Mournoraki
  8. Zivania
  9. Souma 
  10. Psimeni 

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few commonly asked questions about Greek alcohol and related traditions.

Is liquor popular in Greece?

Yes, liquor is very popular in Greece among locals and tourists. The most popular liquor in Greece is Ouzo.

Were liquors common in Ancient Greece?

While hard liquor was not common, wine was popular in ancient Greece. Consuming wine and other alcoholic beverages were seen as a defining characteristic and was associated with civility.

What is the Rakokazana Festival?

The Rakokazana Festival is a ritual that follows the vine harvest on the Greek island of Crete. Brewers host everyone and make a Raki feast featuring food, alcohol, music, and dancing.

It occurs at the end of October and celebrates the making of the Greek drink Raki.

Final Thoughts

Greeks are known for their delectable wine, but they also make sensational spirits that can liven up a boring cocktail or make for a delicious after-dinner drink. Most Greek drinks come from grapes, so you can expect earthy and fruity flavors in almost all Greek liquors.

The next time you visit the liquor store, consider picking up an iconic Greek drink and adding it to your list of favorite spirits.

If you have a fun cocktail recipe or a different Greek liquor you love, leave a comment below!

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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