The World in Liquor

Ouzo – Greece

The classic anise-flavored spirit of Greece known as ouzo has rapidly spread around the world. It’s a signature Greek flavor, and production really took off after Greece declared its independence in the 19th century. Ouzo also had a major jump in popularity when production of absinthe in Europe slowed—people enjoyed ouzo’s smooth flavor and likened it to absinthe without the wormwood taste. If you want to try ouzo the Greek way, head to any of the country’s many ouzeries—bars where ouzo and small plates of appetizers are served.

Aragh Sagi – Iran

Since alcohol has been prohibited in Iran since 1979, this illicit drink known as aragh sagi is primarily produced in private homes, in strict secrecy. Before 1979, there were several professional legal producers, whose recipes were appropriated by private producers in order to keep a small amount of alcohol circulating throughout the country. Aragh sagi is made from fermented raisins and is generally served mixed with water. It can be quite dangerous to imbibe since it’s produced at home, the alcohol content can be as high as 60 percent ABV.

Pisco – Peru

Another native variety of fruit brandy that’s common in South America is pisco—a type of brandy made by distilling fermented grape juice. It’s produced in both Chile and Peru, and has been part of the local culture in the winemaking regions of both countries since the early 17th century. Pisco is aged for a minimum of three months in glass containers, and is completely free from flavoring or coloring agents. Pisco can be served on its own, but it’s a popular addition in cocktails like the pisco sour, or pisco punch.

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