I am constantly writing about Greek food. With that means is that I am constantly researching and studying the cuisine.
Upon this I see two things. The first, is Greeks staying true to recipes and maybe adding a item or two to make it their own. The second, has to do with the Greeks that are either descendants (like me) or not living in Greece anymore. These type of Greek are not only passionate about keeping to tradition, but also in spreading the culture.
It’s true. When I talk to say Greek Americans, they talk with more passion about food than if you are Greece. That’s not to say you can’t find passionate people in Greece, of course you can, but for some reason when you speak with people outside the country, the latch onto traditional since they are not there anymore.
It is no secret Greeks are prideful. We are very proud to be Greek. We do not necessarily think we are better, no not at all. We don’t really see it as a competition, but rather just being proud to be what you are.
With all this in mind, we look at today’s recipe: Ouzo lemonade - ούζο λεμοναδα.
In Greece, you would not find this drink being served. In Greece, ouzo is with iced water or straight - that’s it. However, in a quest to spread the culture, many Greek-Americans/Canadians/Australians, etc., are looking for a way to inject the culture of where they are living with Greek elements. Therefore, you are starting to see mixed drinks containing ouzo springing up ad Greek restaurants outside of Greece.
This gives another avenue for people to experience something of Greek origin. It also makes it easier to drink.
What do I mean by that?
Well, ouzo is made with anise and thus carries a strong ‘black licorice’ taste. There really is no way around it. If you’re not a black licorice fan, the chances of you liking this straight are slim to none.
However, if you add more water, lemon juice, mint leaves, and honey - well you can begin to mask the taste and make someone who wouldn't enjoy this order a second. Now you’ve got people drinking ouzo, and that makes every Greek happy. And if you drink it, you soon will be too, as ouzo is 45% alcohol (90 proof) - more than whiskey, so please drink responsibly - It creeps up on you.
I hope you enjoy this twist on a traditional staple in Greece. While you drink this, close your eyes and dream of the blue waters of Santorini.
As they say in Greece, Yiamas” (γεια μας- to your health/cheers).
- 2 ounces ouzo (room temperature)
- 1 1/2 ounces lemon juice (more if desired)
- 3 mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3 ounces water (iced; more or less to preference)*
- Pour ouzo into glass.
- Add lemon juice and mint leaves, muddle to release flavors in mint leaves.
- Add honey, mix until honey dissolves.
- Pour water in glass, mix.*
*Adding more water will dilute ouzo taste.