According to an ancient legend, the god Dionysus taught the art of winemaking to the Cypriots. Centuries have passed, but the inhabitants of the island sacredly honor the traditions laid down by the ancient Greek celestial. Today the vineyards of Cyprus occupy about 5 thousand hectares. Ripe juicy fruits make excellent alcoholic drinks. To them, as well as to the gentle Mediterranean Sea, you want to return again and again. So which alcohol is worth trying in Cyprus?

Zivania (Ζιβανία)

Zivania is often called grape vodka, although this definition is not entirely correct. The strongest alcoholic beverage known in Cyprus since the end of the 15th century is born by distillation from the pomace of the Mavro and Xynisteri grapes. The production process resembles moonshine. The raw materials for making alcohol are placed in a copper vat, which is connected with a tube to a ceramic jug filled with cold water.

Zivania, photo

As a result of distillation, a clear liquid with a strength of 42-49% is obtained, which has a delicate grape aroma and mild taste. Alcohol is served chilled by adding ice cubes to the glasses. Meze, vegetable salads, cold cuts, nuts, dried fruit and even local sweets are ideal snacks.

The national alcoholic drink of Cyprus is successfully used in folk medicine: it relieves toothache, fights cold symptoms, has analgesic and wound healing properties.

Zivania is sold everywhere on the island. The cost of a 0.5 liter bottle is from 9 to 19 €

Ouzo (Ούζο)

This alcoholic drink has many names: in Greece and Cyprus it is called ouzo, in Turkey – raki, in Iran – arak, and in Italy – sambuca. All these varieties have one thing in common: during the production process, star anise is added to alcohol, which gives it a unique spicy taste.

Ouzo, photo

In addition to anise, Cypriots saturate ouzo with mastic, fennel, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and coriander. This fragrant 40-degree drink with a slightly oily base is traditionally served at the beginning of dinner as an aperitif, and at the end of a meal as a compliment from the chef.

For inexperienced tasters, pure ouzo may seem too strong, even scalding, so connoisseurs recommend diluting alcohol with water in a 1: 1 ratio. At the same time, the crystal clear content of the glass acquires a milky white hue. They drink alcohol in small sips.

To buy ouzo, you don’t have to scour the island’s shops for the coveted bottle. National alcohol is presented in all supermarkets and souvenir shops in Cyprus. Average price – 10 €

Wine (Κρασί)

Currently, there are about 55 wineries in Cyprus. Each of them boasts its own original sorts of a noble alcoholic beverage that can compete with wines from Spain, Italy and France. The most popular brands of Cypriot “liquid gold” are:

1. Dessert Commandaria (Κουμανδαρία), which dates back to ancient times and is the oldest wine in the world. The drink is distinguished by a rich amber color, iridescent aroma of dried fruits, oak bark, spices and a velvety taste with notes of nuts, raisins, honey, figs and caramel. The price for the most famous alcohol in Cyprus ranges from 8 to 20 €. The cost of vintage varieties reaches 70 €.

2. Dry white Xynisteri (Xynisteri), fragrant with woody notes of pineapple, pear, peach and citrus. The mild sour taste will appeal to those who appreciate refreshing alcoholic drinks without a hint of sugaryness.

Cyprus wine, photo

3. Purple dry Maratheftiko (Maratheftiko), proudly bearing the title of “Grape King” of Cyprus. The main range of alcoholic beverages contains enveloping soft tannins; complex aroma captivates with notes of cherry, oak, cinnamon, truffles, wild berries and pepper.

4. Exquisite Shiraz Rose (Shiraz Rose), which appears sparkling due to its high acidity. In a harmonious bouquet, you can feel the shades of cherry, strawberry and noble rose. The velvety aroma is enhanced by subtle tints of vanilla and oriental spices.

five. Dry sherry Fino (Fino), matured for years in oak barrels. The famous fortified wine of Cyprus with a characteristic crystal-golden color has a delicate aroma of herbs with light echoes of vanilla baked goods. The range of flavors includes orange bitterness, honey sweetness, fruit and nutty nuances.

The best representatives of the Cypriot wine family are waiting for their customers on the shelves of local wineries. Here you can not only taste numerous types of alcohol, but also purchase a unique alcoholic drink that cannot be found in the supermarkets of the island. Average price – 12 €

Liquor (Λικέρ)

The liqueurs of Cyprus are worthy of competition for the famous wines. The most famous of them is Filfar. The recipe for a golden alcoholic drink, whose roots go back to the 13th century, was published by Takis Philip in the early 40s of the last century. After World War II, he opened a small factory for the production of sweet liquor.

Cyprus liqueur, photo

The traditional Cypriot liqueur has earned popular love thanks to its rich orange taste and aroma. To make 0.5 liters of filfar, 18 ripe oranges are required, collected in the vicinity of the mountain village of Monagri. The complete alcohol production cycle lasts four months. The resulting fragrant drink with a strength of 34% is supposed to be drunk from wide glasses, up to half filled with crushed ice. The union of liquor with soda is not prohibited.

The cost of a bottle of original Filfar does not exceed 20 €

Brandy (Μπράντυ)

As an aperitif, the residents of Cyprus are not averse to missing a glass or two of the traditional drink, which is based on soda, lemon juice, Angostura bitter alcohol and brandy. While this cocktail is enjoyed in other countries as well, the Cypriot variety is unique. After all, the legendary brandy “Five Kings” is used to make alcoholic beverages.

Brandy in Cyprus, photo

The name of the strong elixir appeared in 1363, when an alcoholic drink from the slopes of Mount Troodos became a decoration of the festive table at the “Feast of the Five Kings” in London. Aged for 15 years, the brandy has a brutal aroma of dried fruits, meadow herbs, chocolate and spices. The bitter taste allows you to feel the shades of dried apricots, prunes, dates, tobacco and dark caramel. The finish is marked by notes of vanilla, spices and oak.

Produced by KEO “Five Kings” can be bought in Cyprus at a price of 11-28 € for a bottle of 0.7 l


Beer (Μπίρα)

It would be ridiculous to compare Cyprus to beer powers such as Germany or Belgium. However, even here, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, the barley alcoholic drink is held in high esteem and respect. According to statistics, 37 million liters of beer were sold on the island in 2018.

In July, when the thermometer rises to + 40 ° C, everyone who wants to freshen up is invited to the annual Limassol Beer Festival. It is accompanied by street entertainment, carnival, concerts and, of course, a tasting of an intoxicating elixir.

Among the spirits of Cyprus, which are worth trying for fans of foam, the first thing to be mentioned is craft beer. There are three major breweries producing ale and porter in the country: Aphrodite’s Rock, Hula Hops Brewing, and Prime Microbrewery. Fragrant foam, distinguished by high quality, is poured in containers of 0.6 and 0.33 liters. Cost – from 2 €

Beer in Cyprus, photo

Fans of lighter grades will find products from KEO and ΛΕΩΝ. Bottles of refreshing beers with typical Mediterranean lager corn sweetness and sourness are available in any supermarket for € 0.9 to € 1.50.

Local alcoholic drinks of Cyprus are a wonderful souvenir that can be brought from the sunny island for family and friends. But when choosing a commemorative present, do not forget about customs regulations. On the territory of Russia, duty-free import of no more than three liters of alcohol is allowed (regardless of its strength).

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