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Wine & Spirits

Psychis Ouzo Now Available in the US!

ASTORIA – That of all the ouza of Chios, which can hold its own against Lesvos (Mytilene) as the ouzo capital of the world, up until recently only one made by Stoupakis was available in the United States was as great a mystery as why American tourists who travel to Greece only seem to visit two islands: Mykonos and Santorini. Those are two perfectly good islands, just as Stoupakis makes a perfectly good ouzo – but why the monopoly?

I have been a fan of Psychis ouzo since I first tried it in 2008, the year of my first trip to Chios. I often wondered why I couldn’t find it in the United States – not even in Astoria.
But last weekend, while visiting there, much to my pleasant surprise, there it was – sitting on the shelf of Omega Wines & Liquors, on 31st Street off of 23rd Avenue in Astoria – in the same strip mall as Mediterranean Foods. And at $17 a bottle, it was quite a bargain, considering many other better-known (but not necessarily better-quality) brands sell for over $20, and more than that outside Astoria.

The “classic” Psychis, like most Chian ouza is 76 proof (38% alcohol), thus 5% below the ouzo standard of 80 proof (40% alcohol). The version I found at Omega is the Rempiko, a full 10% stronger (84 proof, 42% alcohol) than the classic version, but only 5% stronger than the standard ouzo. In other words, if you’re used to the standard proof ouzo, or even the slightly lighter ouza of Chios, the Rempiko won’t cause you to fall off your stool – unless of course you drink excessively.

This is a win-win: a good sign for the Greek economy – as entrepreneurs are figuring out ways to export what they are good at producing – and a bonus for those of us here in the U.S., who don’t have to wait for the authentic taste of Psychis until our next trip to Greece.

 

 

 

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