When it comes to drinks, visitors to Rhodes are spoilt for choice. The island has centuries of alcohol production under its belt, so you know you’re in for a quality tasting experience. The best part of a self-catering trip is that you don’t have to stick to the menu in a hotel bar, leaving your options wide open.
In the comfort of your private holiday rental, you can try a different drink every night of your trip – wine, beer, liquor, or whatever else takes your fancy. Here are some authentic Rhodian flavours that you simple have to try:
This strong liquor is often hailed as Greece’s national drink, and it has a long history, originating from a 14th century drink called tsipouro. Ouzo is anise-flavoured, so if you like liquorice, you’re bound to like this.
Ouzo is found local supermarkets, but for the best flavours, choose a reputable brand like Plomari. For an authentic experience, follow the Greek custom of drinking ouzo with food. Typically, is it sipped alongside mezedes, the Greek version of tapas, so treat yourself to some small plates whilst cooling down with chilled ouzo in the garden of your villa.
If ouzo on its own is a little too strong for your tastes, try adding water – and don’t be alarmed when it turns milky. This happens to all anise-flavoured spirits. Alternatively, you could experiment by making some ouzo-based cocktails in your kitchen.
Another traditional Greek drink, made from either figs or grapes, is souma. Similar to ouzo, and is also pretty strong, souma in Rhodes is usually the grape-based variety, and has a distinctive sweet taste.
As a result of the tradition and ritual surrounding the production of souma, it is not produced on a wide-scale by large companies. Instead, it is crafted by individual distillers, and often sold in unlabelled bottles. In the village of Siana, you can visit a distillery to learn about how this spirit is made before purchasing a bottle to bring home your holiday rental.
Wine in Rhodes
Rhodes is one of the most prominent winemaking areas in Greece, with wine production dating back to the ancient Phoenicians. The island is home to thousands of acres of vineyards, where grapes thrive thanks to the hot, dry climate.
The CAIR (Company Agricultural Industry of Rodos) cooperative is the most esteemed wine producer on the island, and perhaps the best in the whole of Greece. For a luxury experience, be sure to sample the company’s top quality Mandylariá and Athiri wines.
The Emery winery is another top producer in Rhodes, offering a choice of wines including dry whites, rose, and reds. No matter what your tastes, you’ll definitely find a bottle you can bring back to enjoy alongside a home-cooked meal.
Beer in Rhodes
Beer might not have the same reputation and history as wine in Rhodes, but you can still enjoy some fine Greek offerings. The lager beer Mythos is made by one of Greece’s largest and most popular breweries. It won’t be hard to find in your nearest shop, and it’s perfect if you want to relax with a refreshing pint on the terrace of your holiday villa.
By Shaun Fraser, a former drinks rep, who now focuses on writing about his favourite tipples from Europe and beyond. He credits his good nose to a previous life as a sommelier.