Dionysus held sway over legendary Greek wine production that was exported throughout the ancient world. Mainland production in Macedonia, the Peloponnese and on the islands of Crete, Rhodes and Santorini have been celebrated throughout history and only lost favour internationally during the Ottoman era when little attention was paid to the vineyards. During the latter part of the 20th century modern techniques were introduced that have improved the quality of bottled wines. Names to look for include Boutari and Naoussa. Many tavernas offer good house wine from the barrel. This basic "village" wine -red/white/rose will be served young and cool and it compliments the olive oil base of the cooked dishes perfectly. Enjoy its earthy qualities for a very reasonable price. Greece also produces a wine flavoured with resin called retsina, particularly useful in ancient times to
the wine fresh in the hot climate. It too goes well with the Greek diet,
but it is an acquired taste. Ouzo
is taken as an aperitif, neat or with ice and water, the distilled alcohol
flavoured with aniseed seems to cool the blood. However, don't overdo it,
as too much can pack a mighty hangover!
Those who prefer beer can find Amstel and Heineken brewed under license on the Greek mainland, but Mythos is a native Hellenic beer that has a very crisp taste.
Greece produces its own after-dinner drinks. Native brandy is sweeter than French Cognac and Metaxa is the best-known brand name. Sold in 3-star, 5-star and 7-star varieties, it is the 7-star which is the most refined.
Greeks has fallen in love with the cafe frappe, strong cold coffee served over ice, which is especially refreshing in the heat of the day. Hot coffee is made ellenikos, or Greek style, freshly brewed in individual copper pots and served in small cups. It will automatically arrive glyko (sweet) unless you order metrio (medium) or sketo (without sugar). Italian espresso and cappuccino can be found in most cafes. Those who prefer instant coffee can order a drink known simply by its trade name-nescafe or nes.
Soda comes in all the international varieties. Enjoy Greek mineral water still or sparkling. Aoli is the most popular brand name.