What exactly is Metaxa? “Cognac,” a Greek will say, even though Cognac (like Champagne or Scotch) applies to drinks specific to a particular region. “Brandy, then.” Well, that’s a lot closer, though Metaxa is better described as “brandy-like” rather than straight brandy, as it is blended with the Muscat dessert wine.
While the rest of the world considers 5-stars the ultimate pinnacle, Greeks have to outdo them, of course, by adding two more stars. Hence, there is the 5-star Metaxa and the 7-star.
Essentially, if Metaxa is to be found in a liquor store (meaning, not just in New York or Chicago, but in Wichita and Palo Alto), and it usually will be, it is bound to be the 7-star variety. After all, what’s five stars when you’ve got seven?
But there is something to be said about the five-star version. The proofs are almost indistinguishable, with the 5-star at 78 and the 7-star with the standard 80. The difference, however, is in the taste, or the aftertaste. The 7-star has been accurately described as being more complex. But not everyone likes complex. If you like a simple, straightforward drink without a lot of commotion going on in your glass, give the 5-star a try.
Not to mention that you’ll save a few bucks by cutting down on the number of starts.