Ouzo is a Greek spirit that has evolved from tsipouro which in turn it was created by some 14th century monks on Mount Athos. Tsipouro was flavored with anise and that is called today ouzo.
In 2006 Greece won the right to label ouzo, tsipouro and tsikoudia as products with a Protected Designation of Origin. That means that only Greek and Cypriot producers have the right to call their products with this name and no one else.
The island of Lesbos claims the paternity of ouzo and is still the most important producer.
The origin of its name is somewhat disputed.
During a visit to Thessaly in 1896, the late professor Alexander Philadelpheus delivered to us valuable information on the origins of the word “ouzo”, which has come to replace the word “tsipouro”. According to the professor, tsipouro gradually became ouzo after the following event: Thessaly exported fine cocoons to Marseilles during the 19th century, and in order to distinguish the product, outgoing crates would be stamped with the words “uso Massalia”—Italian for “to be used in Marseille”. One day, the Ottoman Greek consulate physician, named Anastas (Anastasios) Bey, happened to be visiting the town of Tyrnavos and was asked to sample the local tsipouro. Upon tasting the drink, the physician immediately exclaimed: “This is uso Massalia, my friends”—referring to its high quality. The term subsequently spread by word of mouth, until tsipouro gradually became known as ouzo.
—The Times of Thessaly, 1959
Another version says that ouzo comes from the Turkish word üzüm which means grape.
Ouzo can be mixed with cold water and that makes it look like a cloud in a glass. Also some people drink it with ice cubes and the more matcho ones drink it straight. Usually it is accompanied with mezedes which are appetizers equivalent of Spanish tapas.
These keftedakia are the perfect mezes not only for ouzo, but also for grappa or wine or beer. They are soft, fluffy and flavorful. If you add tzatziki to the equation then you have the perfect lunch or dinner.
Keftedàkia ( Greek Meatballs)
½ kilo ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
130 gr. stale bread
1 tsp spearmint, dried
1 tsp oregano, dried
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp of parsley finely chopped
A handful of cheese, I used emental but any yellow cheese would do
¼ cup olive oil
Flour to coat the keftedakia
Olive oil for frying them
In a bowl put the bread and soak it in water.
In another bowl put all the other ingredients.
Remove the bread from the water and drain it very well, so as to become something like a pulp.
Add it to the rest of the ingredients and knead with your hands until everything is incorporated.
In a plate add the flour.
Take in your palm a small quantity and roll it to become a small ball.
Put it in the flour and roll it so as to be coated with flour.
Repeat with the rest of the ground meat.
In a deep pot pour about 1 1/2 cups of olive oil.
Put the pot on the stove in high heat and when the oil is ready fry the meat balls in batches.
- ½ kilo ground beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 130 gr. stale bread
- 1 tsp spearmint, dried
- 1 tsp oregano, dried
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp of parsley finely chopped
- A handful of cheese, I used emental but any yellow cheese would do
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Flour to coat the keftedakia
- Olive oil for frying them
- In a bowl put the bread and soak it in water.
- In another bowl put all the other ingredients.
- Remove the bread from the water and drain it very well, so as to become something like a pulp.
- Add it to the rest of the ingredients and knead with your hands until everything is incorporated.
- In a plate add the flour.
- Take in your palm a small quantity and roll it to become a small ball.
- Put it in the flour and roll it so as to be coated with flour.
- Repeat with the rest of the ground meat.
- In a deep pot pour about 1½ cups of olive oil.
- Put the pot on the stove in high heat and when the oil is ready fry the meat balls in batches.
- ½ κιλό κιμά
- 1 κρεμμύδι, ψιλοκομμένο
- 1 αυγό
- 1 σκελίδα σκόρδο, λιωμένη
- μπαγιάτικο ψωμί 130 γρ.
- 1 κ.γ. δυόσμο
- 1 κ.γ. ρίγανη
- 1 κ.γ. αλάτι
- 3 κ.σ. μαϊντανό, ψιλοκομμένο
- Μια χούφτα τυρί, χρησιμοποίησα & έμενταλ, αλλά κάνει οποιοδήποτε κίτρινο τυρί
- ¼ φλ. ελαιόλαδο
- Αλεύρι για το αλεύρωμα
- Ελαιόλαδο για το τηγάνισμα τους
- Σε ένα μπολ, βάλτε το ψωμί και νερό να μουλιάσει.
- Σε ένα άλλο μπολ βάλτε όλα τα υπόλοιπα υλικά.
- Βγάλτε το ψωμί από το νερό και σουρώστε το πολύ καλά, έτσι ώστε να γίνει κάτι σαν πολτός.
- Προσθέσετε τα υπόλοιπα υλικά και ζυμώστε με τα χέρια σας μέχρι να ενσωματωθούν.
- Σε ένα πιάτο, βάλτε το αλεύρι.
- Πλάστε τα σε μικρές μπάλες.
- Κυλήστε τα στο αλεύρι.
- Επαναλάβετε με τον υπόλοιπο κιμά.
- Σε μια βαθιά κατσαρόλα ρίξτε το ελαιόλαδο περίπου 1½ φλυτζάνια.
- Βάλτε την κατσαρόλα στο μάτι της κουζίνας σε δυνατή φωτιά και τηγανίστε τους σε δόσεις.