Traditional Strong Drinks of Cypriots: What Can You Taste in Cyprus besides Wine?

Staff Booze

A Food Fun Travel Guest Post

Drinking is a part of the common culture around the world. While Russia is known for its vodka, Germany is all about beer. The US pretty much has a mixed opinion. However, we’re not talking about the traditional country and wine combinations. Today, we focus on Cyprus. This Mediterranean city hosts a culture that runs long back into history. The island has been under the rule of Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Persia. 

While Cyprus is known for its wine, today we’ll be talking about other strong Cyprus spirits found at Puninwine. From gin to brandy, Cyprus has a lot of other spirits which are quite noteworthy. We’ll take you on a quick tour through the history and rich culture that these bottles of eloquent liquor represent. By the end of this blog, you’ll be booking tickets all the way to Cyprus to get a taste. 

1. Soli Gin

Benedictine monks infused juniper berries to infuse wine and gave it a gin-like aroma and flavor. The creation is known as tonic wine. The wine was initially called Genever. People opined that it had health benefits. And this led to quick popularity for it.

But, the impact of this was far from anything positive. In fact, murder went hand in hand with overconsumption, and it tainted the reputation of this drink. At such a time, a new still by Aeneas Coffey improved the quality of the spirits, making them significantly purer. 

The flavor profile was further boosted and became a product for the armed forces and overseas workers. Additionally, this new mix helped prevent malaria significantly: gin mixed with tonic water provided the quinine required to battle malaria. Adding a slice of lemon to this mix could help combat scurvy too!

2. Brandy Sours

Largely considered the national drink of Cyprus, Brandy Sours is essentially a cocktail made by combining a few ingredients like Cypriot brandy, Cypriot lemon juice, soda, and bitters. It is widely accepted that it was invented in the 1930s at the Forest Park Hotel in Platres. This cocktail was originally prepared for King Farouk of Egypt. If you want to prepare a glass of brandy Sours, you need to fill a glass with brandy, add lemon squash, bitter, and lastly lemonade. Add some ice cubes as the finishing touch, and you’re done!

3. Ouzo

It is a very common anise-flavored drink in Cyprus. According to experts, the taste is similar to other aniseed vodkas, pastis, and rakia. This alcoholic drink was favored in Greece, and its roots are traced back to Tzipuro. High sugar content delays the alcohol released into your system, but it is indeed a very strong drink, and you are advised to be cautious while drinking Ouzo. Mostly served neat without ice. However, it is also used as the base for the fashionable cocktail Ouzini, which is very popular on the island.

4. Zivania

Famous since the 15th century, it is a pomace brandy manufactured in Cyprus. Produced by combining dry wine and pomace, it is widely believed to be around when Cyprus was ruled by the Republic of Venice. It has no color, no sugar content, and is said to have a light smell of raisins. You can try raw Zivania. But in case you aren’t quite sure about that, you can definitely try a cocktail made by mixing Zivania. Cyprus Passion Punch is made by mixing Zivania with rosé wine, passion fruit syrup, mint, etc. After shaking the ingredients with ice, garnish it with a mint leaf, and it is ready to serve.

5. Retsina

The national drink of the Greeks in the 1960s, Retsina is produced from white or rose wine by adding pine resin during the stage of fermentation. Owing to its unique recipe, Retsina is slightly bitter and has a sharp taste. If you’re willing to purchase from a tavern, you need to keep in mind that too strong a resin smell indicates poor quality.

6. Commandaria

This sweet-dessert drink is considered one of the oldest wines, and its origin can be traced back to 800 BC. This drink is made with honey, spices, and raisin. Commandaria is produced from sun-dried Xynisteri (white) and Marvo grape varieties and is matured for a minimum of two years. This is a must-have drink if you are visiting Cyprus, and you can pair it with dark chocolate, nuts, and dried fruits.

7. Filfar Liqueurs

The orange liqueur Filfar is kind of the “national” drink of the country, and the “inventor” is said to be Takis Fillipou. It is made from fruit and other plants and has a little touch of aromatic spices. So, if you want to try good liqueurs in Cyprus, you will definitely be directed to the fruit and other liqueurs made by the Filfar brand. 

 

Which Drink Will You Give a Try?

During holidays with friends or family in Cyprus, consuming alcohol is almost a tradition. Alcohol is a must-have at any festive event in Cyprus. The act of drinking plays a significant role in maintaining relations within the community. Take into consideration the recommendations, and this might help you have a great experience if you’re planning to explore the island.