In search of the ultimate Greek drinks guide?
There is something truly spectacular and special about Greece. To this day it remains my absolute favourite holiday destinations and the reasons why are simply endless.
A country blessed with amazing scenery, a colourful history, incredible landmarks such as the Acropolis of Athens or the gorgeous whitewashed buildings & churches found across the Greek Islands, warm & hospitable people, and not to forget the delicious cuisine that’ll have your tastebuds singing for joy!
But, one thing that shouldn’t be overlooked is the equally impressive array of drinks from Greece that you simply have to give a try when visiting! Whether or not that be Greek alcoholic drinks or non-alcoholic, there is no doubt a drink of choice to be found for every preference!
In this Greece drink & beverage guide, I’ve collaborated with fellow travel bloggers in order to bring you the very best drinks in Greece!
So, regardless if you’re lounging on the beaches of Crete, visiting Ancient Athens, planning a romantic Greek honeymoon, or exploring the idyllic islands of Santorini, Crete or Serifos, grab your glass and let’s raise a toast to Greece! Yasou!
Popular Greek Wines
By Whitney of Designs For Travel, featuring The Perfect Greece Itinerary
In order to have the best experience possible when travelling to Greece, it is a must to try the local food and drinks. One of the most popular wines in Greece is Retsina. This traditional Greek wine is infused with Aleppo pine resin and has a distinct flavour.
Retsina has been a firm favourite amongst Greeks since ancient times, and many make their own. One of the best places to enjoy a glass (or better yet, share a litre) is in a taverna, a casual Greek restaurant serving local dishes and traditional Greek drinks.
Retsina has long been one of the most popular wines in Greece and is in the budget category. Bars in Athens have been known for mixing this wine with soda, to make a drink that is commonly consumed by students on a budget.
More recently, there is a transformation happening, where local producers are paying special attention to producing quality wines, that modern Greeks would be proud of. Make sure to order up the Retsina when you are in Greece, it’s sure to make for a memorable experience!
By Elena from Passion for Greece
The beautiful volcanic island of Santorini from the Cyclades offers much more than breath-taking views, majestic sunsets, and colourful pebbly beaches. It also offers up incredible Santorini wineries & wines to visit and try out!
Vinsanto, Vin di Santorini- wine of Santorini or “the ambrosia of the Gods” is made by a rare and exclusive sun-dried grape that can only grow in the particular island’s lands and is considered one of the best Greek wines.
The volcanic soil, the anhydrous climate, the incredibly low yields, the chilly winds and the humid nights, the age-old vines, all combine to bestow unique traits to the grapes produced in the land of Thira.
The wine possesses an amber colour, deep orange featuring brown tints, has a fruity and dry character and is best accompanied by desserts or fresh fruits.
The cultivation of the grape dates back to the 12th century, however, it only gained popularity and recognition after 1783 after being journeyed to the Russian lands. Today Vinsanto is recognized as one of the best dessert wines in the world and has been awarded a Gold Medal in the Challenge International du Vin 2019 – the largest and oldest wine competition organized in France.
To adapt to the cosmopolitan style of the island and the elegant character of the island the wineries in Santorini offer fine wine tasting sessions or educational tours for visitors who wish to degust on the island’s finest vines.
Book a tour & wine tasting in Santorini where you’ll get the opportunity to sample some of the island’s best wines including the Greek sparkling wine Santo, as well as an array of other wine types ranging from reds to Greek white wines all produced on the island too!
By Džangir from Dr Jam Travels
The Greeks say that Metaxa, made from their grapes, is the softest and silkiest amber spirit in the world. Metaxas literally means silk in Greeka and they refer to it as the bottled sun of the Aegean islands.
It is named after Spyros Metaxas, who began distilling this spirit in 1888. It is a blend of wine distillates made from Muscat white wine from Samos, and various Mediterranean botanicals, and aged in oak barrels. The Metaxa master blender is responsible for the secret recipe that includes nutmeg and rose pellets.
The quality of the Metaxa is labelled with a number of stars, the number of years aged in the barrel. You have 5,7, and 12 stars and some extra editions sold just in Greece. Usually, it is served neat or with one ice cube.
A few examples of Metaxa cocktails are greek tycoon, harbour light, greek buck, international stinger, coffee royale, and others, making this Greek spirit a versatile choice of drink.
Ouzo – Traditional Greek Drinks
By Chrysoula from Greece Travel Ideas
Ouzo is the national drink of Greece and undeniably one of the most famous Greek drinks. Distinctively tasting of liquorice, you will be offered an ‘ouzaki’ which is its affectionate name – similar to a ‘wee dram’ of whisky!
Ouzo is grape or grain-based alcohol and a minimum of 37.5% proof. The alcohol is distilled with anise, fennel, and other local herbs. Each ouzo producer will not divulge the exact ingredients used to anyone! Ouzo was first made in Tymavos in Thessaly in 1856. Today there are more than 300 different brands and the most famous is Plomari, named after a town on Lesvos
Many people keep their ouzo in the freezer so that it is always cold. A measure of Ouzo is either poured over ice into a glass or poured into a glass and an equal amount of water added ( this is the way favoured by purists!). There is a chemical reaction between the ouzo and water and it turns milky white. Ouzo should never be drunk on its own and if you are ordering ouzo, you should order some olives or cheese as an accompaniment.
As you lift your glass for the first time, the toast is “stin iyia mas” – your good health.
By Alexandra from Shurupchik
We have visited Crete a couple of times on our family adventures. Tasting the local cuisine and drinks is one of the reasons why we are so passionate about travelling. And everyone who has been to Greece knows that this country is a perfect combination of hospitality and taste.
At one of the Cretan taverns, after a very rich meal, we got served a digestif which we haven’t heard of before – Tsikoudia. Cretans call it ‘Raki’, which got us confused – we always assumed Raki was Turkish. Apparently, Tsikoudia or as locals call it raki is a strong Greek alcoholic beverage, which in mainland Greece you’ll find under the name of Tsipouro.
It is distilled from grape pomace – the grapes leftovers after they have been used for winemaking. Therefore many wineries and Cretan monasteries, who are famous for their olive oil and wine production, also produce Tsikoudia, not to waste the leftovers.
Greeks usually drink Tsikoudia ‘on the rocks’ or directly from the freezer. Tsikoudia often comes as a complimentary digestif along with fruits. It is also a great gift for bringing home. We got a bottle of Tsikoudia to bring home from the Toplou Monastery – famous for its resistance during the German Occupation.
Want to savour the local flavours & delights of Crete? Book this 4-hour Chania Food Tasting & Walking Tour where you’ll get to sip some raki, sample some local snacks and learn about the history of this incredible island!
By Anda from Travel For A While
Tsipouro isn’t very well-known outside Greece, but it is one of the most traditional drinks in Greece. This Greek drink is a strong spirit, related to the more famous Ouzo. This strong Greek liquor is distilled from grape skins and the leftovers from the winemaking to a 40 to 45% alcohol.
At first, it was a homemade drink people made from the wine leftovers and drank at home. However, it has become a more fashionable drink lately. Now, you can find Tsipouro bars in the trendy neighbourhoods of Athens or accompanying the best meze in Thessaloniki.
Tsipouro is usually drunk with meze and in good company. At first, simple appetizers like olives and cheese were brought along with Tsipouro. As it became more popular, the meze evolved as well into more complex and varied small dishes.
You can take one sip of Tsipouro, taste the meze and talk for hours.
You will find two types of Tsipouro, with or without anise. Give the pure drink a try, to taste all its flavours. The Tsipouro can be drunk straight or with ice, or even mixed with water, but it is best served neat, chilled, or with some ice.
By Marco from Nomadic FIRE
The Greeks are well-known for being passionate about their food and their drinks. Drinks in Greece are as much a part of the culture as gods and food. The Greek liqueurs, in particular, are becoming increasingly popular around the world. People love trying different liqueurs, and the Greeks are eager to share their distinct spin.
Kitron is one of three Greek liqueurs marketed with a Protected Designation of Origin. Much like Scotch whisky, if it is not made on the Greek island of Naxos, you are not drinking real Kitron. The leaves of a citron tree are the source of Kitron’s distinctive flavour. As you might expect, given the name, citron is a more sour cousin to the typical lemon.
To make this Greek liqueur, citron tree leaves are collected late fall/early winter, when the leaves have the most flavour. The leaves are then soaked in alcohol and water to extract the essential oils. This mixture is then distilled up to 3 times to get pure Kitron distillate. Distillers then add sugar and water to get to the specific ABV.
Different temperatures produce different colours and flavours. My favourite is green Kitron, which is distilled at a lower temperature to produce a sweeter flavour than the more astringent higher alcohol yellow variety. I would best describe the taste as citrusy and sour. Imagine if French Cointreau had a baby with Italian Limoncello.
Normally sipped in Greece as an aperitif, my favourite way to enjoy Kitron was introduced to me while living in Spain. An inventive bartender in Barcelona mixed Kitron with French champagne and some homemade bitters. The cocktail was a Mediterranean breezy afternoon served in a glass.
By Ucman from BrownBoyTravels
Mastiha tastes of summer! If a nice summer evening after a day at a Mediterranean beach is defined, it will be the taste of this refreshingly cool drink.
Mastiha is as Greek as it gets, it is a product made only from the raisin of mastic trees in the island of Chios.
The locals bleed the trees for its sap and when it falls to the ground, it hardens and takes the form of solid drops. These are called tears of Chios. Only a small section of islands in the south has the microclimate to produce this valuable sap.
The local producers are very loyal to the traditional method of harvesting this crop and the process of making the liqueur has been passed down generations. The crystals of mastic tree sap and ground are added to pure alcohol with sugar and then sold as Mastiha. The most reputed brands are Kleos and Skinos.
The best way to enjoy Mastiha is on the rocks as an aperitif but you can also drink it in the afternoon as a refreshing drink.
There is a new generation of Greek mixologists who have focussed and produced a ton of cocktails made with Mastiha which are quite easily available around especially in Athens.
Greek Beer – Popular Greek Drinks
By Chrysoula from Athens and Beyond
If you love beer, you will love Greece! There are more than 70 different beers made in Greece and on many Greek islands. The best-known labels are Fix and Mythos. Fix was the first beer to be produced in 1864. Both of these beers are now being produced by the multinationals, Heineken and Carlsberg. Having said this, there are also some excellent beers being produced by numerous microbreweries.
Beer of all kinds are made in Greece: IPA (Indian Pale Ale), Stout, Pils, Weiss, and Ale, but Lager is the most popular kind. Several of the micro-breweries have won international awards for their beers, including Nissos on Tinos, and Septem on Evia.
Until recently, the hops and barley were imported to Greece, but in the last few years, several microbreweries have started growing their own crops. If you want to discover the wide array of Greek beers under one roof, Barley Cargo at 6 Kolokotroni, in Athens, is the place to go!
So, what are you waiting for? Order a Greek ‘Býra’ (beer in Greek) on your next visit!
Better yet, why not book this awesome Athens Drinks & Taverna Evening Tour for a truly unique experience visiting some of the coolest Athens neighbourhoods and sampling the best in Greek food & drink!
Non-Alcoholic Greek Drinks
Want to steer clear of the Greek alcohol and much rather prefer a non-alcoholic option, then we’ve got you covered!
By Kristine from Wanderlust Designers
You should never leave Greece before you’ve enjoyed a relaxing cup of frappé. It’s a foam-covered iced coffee drink made in a shaker from instant coffee, sugar, ice cubes, and water. Milk can be added as well if it’s your thing.
Frappé is most often made from Nescafe coffee because the accidental inventor of the drink worked for a representative of Nescafe at the time. Yes, frappé was invented accidentally – in 1957, Dmitris Vacondios, while working at a fair to introduce a new children’s chocolate drink from Nescafe, wanted to make a coffee for himself.
Vacondios couldn’t find any hot water, so he mixed his beloved Nescafe with cold water in a shaker. Thus, frappé was born. Although frappé has become popular all over the world now, there is the proper way to enjoy it – slowly sipping on the iced drink, sitting under the hot Greek sun in a small beach café.
Greek Mountain Tea (Tsai Tou Vounou)
By Nina from Lemons and Luggage
As much as Greeks love their coffee, they do have some other options for hot beverages. Mountain tea (Greek: Tsai Tou Vounou), also known as Ironwort or Sideritis, is a plant found in the mountains of Greece and its neighbouring countries. So despite the name, it’s not actually tea, but a completely different plant.
In Greece, it is considered the healthiest hot beverage you can drink due to the plant’s high levels of antioxidants. You can buy the dried flowers and leaves in many shops and even supermarkets. Simply pour boiling water over it and then let it steep for 10-15 minutes. You can also add it to boiling water and then let it simmer on low heat for the same amount of time.
There is no need to sweeten mountain tea, and although honey is a popular addition, if you’re a vegan in Greece you can simply drink it without. It’s a much-loved hot drink in the winters, especially in the colder regions of Greece because it is said to prevent and heal colds or the flu.
The infusion has a flowery flavour profile and because it doesn’t contain any caffeine you can even drink it at night to warm up after a day of exploring.
By Sasha from The Alternative Travel Guide
One of the most popular non-alcoholic drinks that you will be offered on Athens’ beaches is Visinada. This soft drink is traditionally made from cherry juice or cherry pulp.
Visinada is a favourite summer drink of the Greeks: it refreshes and invigorates due to its vitamin C content. And it is simply a delicious drink that is pleasant to drink in hot weather. A cafe on the beach will often serve you a bottled Visinada, that is, a commercial version of the drink.
Another version of Visinada that you might get in fast food cafes and restaurants: Greeks dilute a very sweet cherry syrup with water or soda and add ice. This type of syrup is not hand-made, but an industrial one, and it contains lots of sugar. Such Visinada turns out to be tasty, but not the most delicious.
But if you are lucky enough to find an authentic taverna, you can try traditional Greek Visinada there. This drink will not leave anyone indifferent: both children and adults love it.
For the traditional Visinada, the Greeks usually use the wild sour cherry, but the cultivated cherry is also widely used. To make a Visinada, the Greeks knead ripe cherries in a blender, boil them, add sugar, lemon juice and turn the cherries into a honey-textured syrup. This Visinada is obviously more natural, has a pronounced fruity taste, and is more healthy.
Hopefully, on your trip to Greece, you find a tavern that serves this most delicious & authentic Greece drinks – Visinada. You can also try making the Visinada at home if you have ripe cherries on hand.