I imagine this is one of those drinks you either love or hate. For all you liquorice lovers, this is a great little snifter, however for anyone who can't stand liquorice my advice would keep well away.
Ouzo-ing With Flavour
Aniseed, liquorice, anise star, fennel flavoured, which are all the same to me, this is no drink for shrinking violets as it full to bursting with an intense aniseed flavour and indeed an intense aniseedy aroma. Ouzo is made out of a mixture of herbs including fennel, anise star, anise seed, cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon. These are strong flavours on their own, so you can image what a strong flavour is produced when they are all brewed together.
Were Does it Come From?
Ouzo is very much a Greek national drink. I hadn't heard of it until I went to Crete a few years back, where it is often served as an aperitif in restaurants. I rather liked it so came home with a bottle for my drinks store. However I have never seen it on sale in the UK, although I just check and you can buy Ouzo 12 on Amazon - good old Amazon!
Ouzo dates back to the mid 17th century when Catholic monks taught the art of distillation to Crusaders passing through Greece. Ouzo 12 dates back to 1880 where the Kalogianni brothers produced small quantities of ouzo in their traditional snack shop in Constantinople. In 1950 Ouzo 12 was bottled for the first time in Greece in a town called Piraeus and it was barrel 12 which was bottled first, hence the name Ouzo 12.
Ouzo comes in a range of brands however Ouzo 12 does seem to be a particularly popular brand and we could see it in shops, cares and bars all over Crete. We purchased a 0.2 litre bottle at the custom free at the airport on the way home. 0.2 litre is fairly small and it got used up itching a couple of months of us returning to the UK - I wish we had gone for a bigger bottle!
Price and Range
Ouzo 12' which is marketed as "the world's number one premium ouzo comes in bottle sizes of miniature - 0.05lt, the 0.2lt, 0.35lt, 0.7lt, 1lt, 2lt and 3lt. It is also available in a collectible box set.
I remember Ouzo being rather cheap but on Amazon a 0.7lt bottle is £16.44, which is quite expensive. I guess that's UK tax for you!
I like a shot neat, it warms the cockles and gives a short sharp burst of flavour to savour. It can also be served on ice, made into cocktails and is traditionally drank mixed with water. Ouzo is a very smooth liqueur. In a way it has similarities in flavour to Pernod, if I remember correctly as I haven't he Pernod since I was about 20, therefore it may take quite good in blackcurrent juice. However the ouzo got used up before I had the chance to try this theory out! The alcohol volume content is high at 40%.
All in All
If I could buy a bottle from the supermarket I would as it's a nice drink to have a shot of during an evening with friends. No doubt about it, it's potent stuff and if you like aniseed it is well worth a try.
Ouzo is a Greek drink which was originally produced by the Kaloyannis brothers. It is said that barrel number 12 of this drink contained the best Ouzo and that is where it got it's name.
It is a very popular drink to this day in Greece and this is where my parents first tried it, as lots of restaurants will give you a shot of this free after your meal. They then decided to bring back a bottle of this stuff from duty free for everyone they know, which is how I got my bottle!
The Greeks have a saying,'Ouzo makes the spirit', they love the stuff! They don't just drink it, they also use it in cooking and on babies' gums to ease the effects of teething.
Ouzo 12 currently retails at £13.45 for a 700ml bottle in Asda. I can't seem to find it for sale in any other supermarkets and it seems quite tricky to pick up.
Ouzo isn't a drink that I would drink often or a lot of as it is strong with an ABV 40% so a bottle lasts a long time.
The bottle is very basic, being mainly clear glass with a simple label. The label shows the date the drink was discovered (1880), along with the a large number 12 and the name Ouzo. There is also some greek writing.
The liquid is clear and can be drunk as a shot, with ice or mixed with water, ice or soda. I personally find the taste of this too strong to drink it with a mixer so only have the odd shot of it with friends.
The ingredients include lots of herbs and spices but the one that stands out more than any other is aniseed. There is a really strong taste of aniseed. It is a warm and pleasant shot to drink but I find I have the taste of aniseed in my mouth for a while after drinking it. Even when mixed with lemonade or water the aniseed taste is very strong. It changes colour if you add water it, going more cloudy and milky than the clear colour it starts as.
If you don't like the taste of aniseed which is a liquorice kind of taste, don't even bother trying this! If you do like the taste you should give it a go. It's a nice drink to have one or two shots of.
I've tried various brands of Ouzo in the past and to me they all seem the same, as I rarely touch this bottle there is nothing that would make me buy this particular brand over another so if I found a cheaper alternative I would choose it over this brand.
The drink is strong, and when you drink it straight you get that warm feeling in your chest. I did read somewhere that as it has a high sugar content the alcohol releases into your system more slowly so the effects will creep up on you but I haven't drunk enough of this at one time to feel these effects.
This is a drink I like but one or 2 is definitely enough for me and I couldn't imagine drinking it for a whole night.
I don't think this is a drink that I would buy for myself but it would be a great gift for any liquorice lovers!
First produced in 1880 by the Kaloyannis brothers in Constantinople, the increasingly successful business moved to the Athenian port of Piraeus in 1919. The brothers produced various styles of ouzo, but the one preferred by connoisseurs came from barrel n