If you're a fan of Greek and Turkish cuisine, chances are you've heard of ouzo and arak. But what is ouzo? And how do you drink it? Discover the difference between these two liquors and food pairing with these very popular Mediterranean and middle eastern drinks.
The Types of Ouzo and Arak
There are two main types of ouzo: the anise-flavoured variety and the less common, anisette-flavoured ouzo. Anise-flavoured ouzo is made with star anise, a spice that gives the liquor its distinct liquorice flavour. Anisette-flavoured ouzo, on the other hand, is made with anise seeds and has a sweeter flavour.
Arak, on the other hand, is a type of spirit that is made with grapes and flavoured with anise. It is popular in the Middle East and has a high alcohol content.
When choosing between the two, it really depends on your personal preference. If you like the taste of liquorice, then go for the anise-flavoured ouzo. If you prefer something sweeter, then go for the anisette-flavoured ouzo. And if you want something with high alcohol content, then go for the arak.
Both pair ideally well with marinated olives and marinated goat's cheese in olive oil with zaatar ( middle eastern herb). It's the best!
How to Drink Arak
If you want to try arak, the anise-flavoured national drink of Lebanon, you should know a few things first. Arak is usually around 40% alcohol, so it's not for the faint of heart. It's traditionally served with water and ice, which helps to take away some of the heat. When the water is added, the drink will turn cloudy. Some people like to add a squeeze of lemon or lime, but this is up to personal preference.
Arak can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a mixed drink. If you're feeling adventurous, try it in a Beirut Sunrise (arak, grenadine, and orange juice) or an Arak Attack (arak, whisky, and lemonade). Just be careful not to overdo it - a little goes a long way with this potent spirit!
How to Drink Ouzo
Ouzo is a Greek anise-flavoured liqueur that is traditionally served as an aperitif. It can be enjoyed neat or on the rocks, but it is typically diluted with water, which turns it milky white. Ouzo can also be used in cocktails and mixed drinks.
If you're new to ouzo, start by sipping it neat or on the rocks. Ouzo is typically diluted with water before being served, which turns it milky white. If you find the flavour of ouzo too strong, add more water until it's to your liking. You can also try ouzo in cocktails and mixed drinks.