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Cheers Around The World

Greece – “Υγεία”

Our Cheers Around the World series is a celebration to those cultures across the globe and their expression of goodwill through the ceremonial clink. Next stop: Greece!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Drink of Choice: Ouzo

Probably the most popular, traditional drink in Greece is ouzo, a strong spirit with equally strong ties to the country’s drinking culture. Its unique licorice flavor comes from the addition of anise after its thorough distillation process, distinguishing it from other Greek aperitifs like tsipouro. Ouzo is crystal clear on its own, but it’s rarely consumed straight from the bottle (it’s a hard-proof liquor with the average bottle containing 40% alcohol by volume!). Most dilute it with water, which transforms the drink into its famous milky coloring. Greece is the sole producer of ouzo on a global scale, which is a pretty rare privilege to tout. In 2006, the Greek government received approval by the EU for a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), recognizing ouzo’s uniquely Greek heritage and giving Greece exclusive production rights to the liquor. So if you’re drinking ouzo anywhere in the world, know that it’s the real deal!


Why does ouzo turn a cloudy white when mixed with water?

Anise, the spice used to give ouzo its distinct flavor & aroma, is rich in essential oils that can dissolve easily in ouzo’s purest form due to its high alcohol content. When diluted, the oils lose their solubility, leading to a gradual milky coloring and heightened aroma to be enjoyed.

Table Guide: The Greek Meze

When in Greece, it’s customary to pair drinks with a spread of appetizers & small plates referred to as “mezedes” – the Greek’s version of tapas. The word “meze” is derived from the Turkish word “mezés” meaning “appetizer” or “snack.” But it’s so much more than that! Mezedes are an experience to be enjoyed by Greek residents & guests alike. Typically accompanied by alcohol, these small plates bring friends & family together and invite a leisuirely pace to a gathering. Mezedes feature an array of Mediterranean foods & flavors, so if you’re visiting Greece for the first time, this is a great introduction to the cuisine!


Mezedes can also be paired with other popular Greek spirits, including Retsina wine and mastika, though ouzo is the most popular choice. Ouzo is so rooted in Greek tradition that there are eateries specifically designed for drinking ouzo, which the Greek call “ouzeries.”


If you’re ever in Greece, be sure to follow these social drinking norms:


Pair your drinks with food.

It’s rare to drink in Greece without pairing it with a small plate or two of “mezedes.” These bite-sized appetizers have the classic Mediterranean spread - often including nuts, cheeses, olives, breads, seafood, and vegetables to share among the group.


Toast with every new drink.

Fun fact: it’s rumored that the earliest toasts in civilization trace back to the Ancient Greeks! The most common Greek term for Cheers is Υγεία and is pronounced “Ya mas!”, which translates to “health.” It’s customary to clink glasses with your group and toast with every new drink, taking a sip before setting your glass down.


Drink responsibly.

Greek liquor is known for being strong, and culturally it’s meant to be savored. Therefore, it’s important that you drink responsibly and respectfully while you’re in the company of locals, as public displays of drunkenness are generally frowned upon.


Sip slowly and relax.

Drinking culture in Greece is all about celebrating people coming together, so the experience is very intentional towards gathering. The Greeks don’t hurry; they drink slowly and enjoy bites of food in between sips. The goal? Taking time to relax, enjoy each other’s company, and observe the scenery around them. Sounds amazing, if you ask us.


Apokries: The Greek Carnival

One of Greece’s most festive events of the year, Apokries, is a "Carnival" of masquerade parties, drinking & dancing, and celebration that takes place along Greek cities the 3 weeks before Lent season. This colorful tradition dates back to Ancient Greece and is thought to have originally been a form of worship to Dionysis, the God of Wine & Feast (Apokries translates to “goodbye to meat”).

The city of Patras holds the largest carnival of the season, with an extravagant street parade and burning of the Carnival King statue on the last weekend of Apokries, though other notable celebrations can

be found along the smaller islands and major cities. Attendees are decorated in imaginative costumes and street parties are common with confetti, folk dancing, and, of course, drinking. If you’re planning a trip to Greece in the early part of the year, Apokries is definitely an unforgettable experience!


Cool off with an Ouzo Lemonade!


Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Pour 1.5 oz of ouzo into a glass.
  2. Make sure it’s room temperature!
  3. Add lemon juice and mint leaves in, and muddle slightly to release flavors.
  4. Add honey and stir to dissolve. Add water to desired taste and mix well.
  5. Υγεία! (pronounced “Ya mas!”)


References

About Cheers

Cheers is the leading alcohol-related health brand focused on developing products that support your liver and help you feel great the next day. As a student at Princeton, Cheers’ founder Brooks Powell discovered the potential advantage of incorporating the natural plant extract Dihydromyricetin (DHM) into an after-alcohol consumption regimen and began working with his professors to make products that addressed the unique challenges of alcohol-related health. . Since its official launch in 2017, Cheers has sold more than 13 million doses  to over 300 thousand customers. The research-backed line of products includes three versions of supplemental pills and powders – Restore, Hydrate and Protect. Cheers is now releasing read-to-drink versions of their products—starting with Cheers Restore. Each product is equipped to meet different health needs such as rehydration, liver support, and acetaldehyde exposure. Cheers places an equal emphasis on the responsibility and health aspects of its mission and vision. The brand’s mission is bringing people together by promoting fun, responsible, and health-conscious alcohol consumption. The vision is a world where everyone can enjoy alcohol throughout a long, healthy, and happy lifetime. For more information, visit cheershealth.com or join the social conversation at @cheershealth.

Whatever you may be drinking, always remember to "Υγεία!"

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.