This day we visited a small Greek producer of local “moonshine”, made in a secret location. The name of this distillation drink is commonly referred to as tsipouro, though sometimes it is referred to as Raki in Crete. But for us Raki is flavored with Anise, it an alcoholic drink that gets milky when water is added. Those drinks, such as ouzo, pastis, and Turkish Raki are very different in taste to tsipouro.
Greek “tsipouro” is produced from the solid residue of the grape’s skin, pulp, seed and stem that remained after the fruit was pressed to make wine. Before the distillation, the grape skins are held in containers soaking with some herbs, a secret of the maker. This milky white liquid is not very appealing, it sits as it is until such time that all the fermentation of any sugars has evacuated.
Next the liquid and the stems are discarded and what remains is the red grapes and white that are put into the closed copper distiller. This something the Greeks should know, as the first evidence of distillation comes from Greek alchemists working in Alexandria in the 1st century AD.
The taste is just pure, non sweet, not harsh at all, except when you drink it before filtering, as I did in the video. There are many different qualities of tsipouro, so you need to find the taste that best suits your own palate, and today we found ours.