First and foremost let’s begin by saying that many people around the world know Chios for the large variety of unique spirits produced on the island. So, here is your Chios Spirits Guide. The best local drinks and where to find them!
First honorable mention on the Chios Spirits Guide: Chios Beer
Chios has very own craft microbrewery – Chios Beer. Chios Beer produces around 10 types of signature beers, including the house Blonde Ale and the much-acclaimed Smoked Robust Porter.
Fun fact: Chios Beer was founded in 2011 in the Kampos area, where the company is housed until today.
It started the commercial production and bottling of the Fresh Chios Beer in 2012. Moreover, in order to retain all the flavor and character of the beer, the producers are bottling the beers unfiltered and unpasteurized. The microbrewery occupies a space of about 100 square meters.
Also, it’s good to know that Chios Beer is open to visitors, the staff is very welcoming and helpful so do not miss the chance to stop by and learn how this unique craft beer made!
You can visit the Chios Beer brewery as part of our Kampos Food Tour.
Chiotes have been making wine since at least the 5th Century BC, as evidenced by the discovery of Chian amphorae in ancient sites in the Greek capital, Athens. Chios wine was renowned all over ancient Greece and beyond. The Chian ships transported it throughout the Mediterranean.
Today, there are two wine producers in Chios – Ariousios Winery and Kefalas Winery.
Both are located in the Amani area – the Northwestern part of the island.
Ariousios winery was conceived around 1998 starting with the cultivation of the vineyards, while its wine-making facilities launched in August of 2009. The founding of Ariousios winery was an important step in the revival of winemaking in Chios. Today, the company produces and bottles about 150 000 bottles of wine per year. A big part of the wines is exported to Europe and the US.
Kefalas winery began its operation in 2004 and has a capacity of 30 tons of wine. The vineyards cover an area of 30 acres and cultivate native varieties of Savatiano, Roditis, Athiri, Assyrtiko, Mandilaria, Fokiano, Chian krasero, and Agiannitiko. Kefalas produces both red and white wines. The Kefalas winery also has a small tasting room and a wine shop that is open to visitors.
You can visit the Chios wineries as part of the Chios Wine Tasting tour.
Continuing strong with our Chios spirit guide, with else? Ouzo! Ouzo is a traditional Greek drink! And as many of you already know, the island of Chios is the cradle of spices and aromas. So, of course, it produces a special variety of soft and smooth ouzo. The traditional ingredients include aniseed combined with fennel, cilantro, and other aromatic herbs.
In fact, people are producing the Chian ouzo for so many years now and, as happens with many traditional drinks, it played a special role in the social life of the island. All distilleries are still family-run businesses passed down from generation to generation. Today’s owners are the grandchildren or great-grandchildren of the distilleries’ founders, who inherited their secret ouzo recipes along with the family business:
Actually, today many people still serve it as an aperitif and use it in mixed drinks and cocktails. Accompanying mezedes such as ktapodaki (octopus), atherina (whitebait), throumba elia (a special kind of olive), toursia (pickles), tyri (cheese), the Chian ouzo is the perfect drink to enjoy the crystal deep blue sea or the embracing starry sky either during the day or at night.
From a culinary point of view, its usual combination with seafood results in a rich and delightful taste.
Next on the Chios Spirits Guide: Chios Souma
There are no souma factories and no companies producing souma. However, there are some individuals who make it. And if they decide to sell some, they do so in unlabeled bottles. Also, many restaurants also serve homemade souma.
Finally, let’s finish off your ultimate Chios spirits guide with something truly unique. Chios Island is famous for its ability to turn anything into a delicious liqueur! Since the most famous products of the island are citruses and mastic, it is not surprising that Chiotes produce a large variety of citrus and mastic liqueurs. Among the citruses, you can find tangerine, kumkat, orange, lemon and bergamot liqueurs. Undoubtedly, mastic liqueur is also one of the must-try spirits of the island.