What to drink with your Greek meal (2023)

What to drink with a Greek meal Guide

What to drink with your Greek meal (1)

As you’d expect from a Mediterranean cuisine, wine is the usual accompaniment to a meal in a Greek restaurant. Greece has been a centre of wine-making for its entire history and though there are few big name wines produced here, there are many very palatable wines perfectly suited to Greek food. An increasing number of modern wines from Greece are now starting to win international recognition and awards too.

Restaurants in Greece are more likely to offer carafes of house wine than the more expensive bottled wines. These can be good or not so great depending on the restaurant, but they are usually well matched to the cuisine and light enough to enjoy drinking throughout the meal without suffering any ill effects. Greek food doesn’t demand complex wines to complement it, so when you are at a Greek restaurants in Britain choose a dry, light Greek wine to go with your meal for the authentic Greek experience.

Greece is perhaps better known for two drinks which are definitely an acquired taste. Retsina is a dry white wine flavoured with pine resin. The resin used to be added to preserve the wine on sea voyages and the Greeks developed a taste for it which has lasted to this day. Aromatic and fresh, it can go well with any Greek food, if you develop the taste for it. Some do, some hate it, so if you’ve never tried it before start off buying by the glass rather than the bottle, just for the experience.

Ouzo is a potent aniseed flavoured spirit, distilled from the residue left from grape making. Clear when poured, as soon as water or ice is added it turns cloudy. If you are drinking ouzo throughout the evening, a recommended way of drinking is to add water to the drink and then keep topping up with water as the level drops, so it gets weaker and so that you can keep drinking longer without getting drunk. In Greece it is always served with an accompaniment of meze, snacks to help absorb the alcohol. Friends can sit all evening over a few glasses of ouzo, eating snacks as they talk long into the night. In a Greek restaurant in Britain you are more likely to try a glass of ouzo at the end of your meal to finish off the evening. The flavour is strongly aniseed, so if you don’t like liquorice you are unlikely to enjoy ouzo.

There is a stronger spirit distilled in Crete, and often home-made, called raki, (or tsikoudia). Like the Turkish raki, it is a strong distilled spirit usually without the aniseed flavour of ouzo and you should avoid drinking it on an empty stomach, and preferably not mix your drinks if you want to avoid a certain hangover.

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So you can be adventurous and go all out for the more unusual flavours of Greece when you order your drinks, or be just as authentic with a delicious dry white or red wine from Greece to go with your meal.

Why not view a selection of Greek restaurants in Nottingham?


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