Tsipouro (Greek : τσίπουρο, romanized: tsípouro) is an un-aged brandy from Greece and in particular Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia, and the island of Crete (where Cretans call it tsikoudia). Tsipouro is a strong distilled spirit containing 40–45% alcohol by volume and is produced from either the pomace (the residue of the wine press) or from the wine after the grapes and juice have been separated. It comes in two types, pure and anise-flavoured, and is usually not aged in barrels, although barrel aged versions do exist.
According to tradition, the first production of tsipouro was the work of Greek Orthodox monks in the 14th century on Mount Athos in Macedonia, Greece.
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Ripe dark grapes are passed through crusher/destemmers. The mass is left to settle for a few days, just enough to get fermentation started. Formerly, wine would be collected and only the solid residue would be used for tsipouro in an attempt to get the most out of the plant. Today some producers use the whole of the pulp, without taking out the must for wine production. This results to a superior product, called “apostagma”, sold at approximately twice the price of tsipouro.
In the next stage, the mass is fed into distillation units, where temperature and pressure are closely monitored. The first and last distinct batches (the 'head' and the 'tail') are discarded. Only the intermediate batch (known as the 'heart') is kept to make tsipouro. This process is repeated to obtain doubly distilled tsipouro, which might be superior.
Finally, the distillate is left to settle and mature in stainless steel tanks. It can also be aged in wooden barrels to give 'aged tsipouro', a relatively new beverage that can be compared to whiskey.
Depending on the time of year, tsipouro is used either as refreshment or as a hot beverage, and depending on the time of day, it replaces the drinking of coffee or wine. Tsipouro and tsikoudia, like all alcoholic beverages in Greece, are generally consumed at social gatherings.
According to Greek manufacturers, the best way to enjoy tsipouro is straight from the freezer. Some people prefer to either dilute with water or add ice.
Tsipouro is usually served in shot glasses with meze (a small side dish) such as nuts, dried fruit, raisins, cheese, olives, seafood, meat, halva, or paximadi (rusk).
In 2006, Greece filed a request for tsipouro to be recognized as a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) product,which was granted later that year.
Anise-flavoured tsipouro is also available, produced especially in Macedonia and Thessaly. Anise-flavoured tsipouro and ouzo have almost identical taste but vary enormously in their method of production. The alcohol used to produce ouzo is 96% ABV rectified spirit (ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin) and therefore does not retain the flavours of the primary distilled products, whereas the lower degree of distillation of tsipouro allows it to retain the aroma of the pomace.
Brandy is a liquor produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35–60% alcohol by volume and is typically consumed as an after-dinner digestif. Some brandies are aged in wooden casks. Others are coloured with caramel colouring to imitate the effect of aging, and some are produced using a combination of both aging and colouring. Varieties of wine brandy can be found across the winemaking world. Among the most renowned are Cognac and Armagnac from southwestern France.
Ouzo is a dry anise-flavored aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece. It is made from rectified spirits that have undergone a process of distillation and flavoring. Its taste is similar to other anise liquors like pastis, sambuca, rakı and arak.
Rakia, Rakija or Raki, is the collective term for fruit spirits popular in the Balkans. The alcohol content of rakia is normally 40% ABV, but home-produced rakia can be stronger.
Arak or araq is a distilled Levantine spirit of the anise drinks family. It is translucent and unsweetened.
Pomace, or marc, is the solid remains of grapes, olives, or other fruit after pressing for juice or oil. It contains the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems of the fruit.
Pomace spirit is a liquor distilled from pomace that is left over from winemaking, after the grapes are pressed. It is called marc in both English and French, but "grappa" in Italian and "bagaço" in Portuguese. In Spanish it is called orujo. Alcohol derived from pomace is also used as the traditional base spirit of other liquors, such as some anise-flavored spirits. Unlike wine brandy, most pomace brandies are neither aged nor coloured.
Grappa is an alcoholic beverage: a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy of Italian origin that contains 35 to 60 percent alcohol by volume.
Aguardiente, in Spanish, or aguardente, in Portuguese is a generic term for alcoholic beverages that contain between 29% and 60% alcohol by volume (ABV). It originates in the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Iberian America.
Liquor is an alcoholic drink produced by distillation of grains, fruits, vegetables, or sugar, that have already gone through alcoholic fermentation. Other terms for liquor include: spirit drink, distilled beverage or hard liquor. The distillation process concentrates the liquid to increase its alcohol by volume. As liquors contain significantly more alcohol (ethanol) than other alcoholic drinks, they are considered "harder" – in North America, the term hard liquor is sometimes used to distinguish distilled alcoholic drinks from non-distilled ones, whereas the term spirits is used in the UK. Examples of liquors include brandy, vodka, absinthe, gin, rum, tequila, and whisky.
Zivania or zivana is a Cypriot pomace brandy produced from the distillation of a mixture of grape pomace and local dry wines made from Xynisteri and Mavro grapes. The name of zivania is derived from zivana which means pomace in the Greek dialect of Cyprus. Zivania is colourless and alcoholic with a light aroma of raisins. Its alcohol content varies, with 45% by volume being the typical value. As defined by law, zivania shall not have more than 60% alcohol content. Zivania contains no sugars and has no acidity.
Greece produces many food products.
Orujo is a pomace brandy from northern Spain. It is a transparent spirit with an alcohol content over 50%. Its name comes from the expression "aguardiente de orujo".
Flavored liquors are liquors that have added flavoring and, in some cases, a small amount of added sugar. They are distinct from liqueurs in that liqueurs have a large sugar content and may also contain glycerine.
Tsikoudia, also often called raki in the eastern part of Crete, is an alcoholic beverage, a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy of Cretan origin that contains 40% to 65% alcohol by volume. Tsikoudia is made by distilling of pomace, what remains of grapes pressed in winemaking. The pomace ferments for about six weeks in a tightly sealed barrel, and is then distilled.
Fruit spirit is a distilled beverage produced from mash, juice, wine or residues of edible fruits. The term covers a broad class of spirits produced across the world, and typically excludes beverages made from grapes, which are referred to as plain brandy or pomace brandy. Apples, pears, apricots, plums and cherries are the most commonly used fruits.
This glossary of winemaking terms lists some of terms and definitions involved in making wine, fruit wine, and mead.
Moonshine. The term commonly applies to small-scale production, which is often illegal or tightly regulated in many countries.
Törkölypálinka is a Hungarian pomace brandy, an alcoholic beverage produced by distillation from grape residues (pomace) left over from winemaking. One of the oldest types of pálinka, it is thought to aid digestion, and is usually consumed in small quantities after meals.
Rakı or raki is an alcoholic drink made of twice-distilled grapes and anise. It is the national drink of Turkey. It is also popular in other Balkan countries as an apéritif as well as in Kazakhstan. It is often served with seafood or meze. It is comparable to several other alcoholic beverages available around the Mediterranean and the Middle East, e.g. pastis, ouzo, sambuca, arak and aguardiente.
CHRIS Distillery Est. 1895 with production of traditional Greek Tsipouro like Tsipouro the Simple and Stathopoulos Tsipouro