Athens is a city known for its rich history and culture, but it’s also home to some of the best drinks and cocktails in the world. Whether you’re a wine lover, a mixologist at heart, or curious to sample the traditional Greek ouzo, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Athens.
Well take a closer look at some of the must-try alcoholic drinks and cocktails in Athens, as well as the establishments where you can find them.
Local Wine in the City Center
One of the staple drink in Athens is Greek wine. The country has a long history of wine production and consumption, dating back to ancient times. With its warm climate and rich soil, Greece produces a wide variety of wines, from light and crisp whites to robust reds. One such verity of Greek wine is the red wine Agiorgitiko, which is grown in the Nemea region and is a protected veriety under the “OPAP system”. As the Nemea region has been harvesting grapes for decades many legends referencing Agiorgitiko have sprung up; including it being called the Blood of Hercules due to after defeating the Lion of Nemea it is told that he drank this very same wine.
As a result of Athenians love for wine, there are many great places to sample Greek wine in Athens.
One must-visit spot is the legendary “Oinoscent”, which claims to be the first wine bar in all of Athens. From its humble beginnings as a hole in the wall establishment Oinoscent has emerged as an industry leader. It has a dining area for those who prefer to enjoy their wine with some gourmet bites to eat as well as bar for those looking for a little socialization to pair with their rosé. Offering an impressive selection of Greek and international wines, as well as wine tastings and wine-related events a worthy destination to any wine lovers. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and they’re happy to help you choose the perfect wine to suit your taste. It is located just a five minute walk from the city center Syntagma, the perfect stop after a long day of sightseeing.
Another great option for wine lovers is “Warehouse” which is a wine bar and shop located in the just outside the center of Athens on Valtetsiou Street. “Warehouse” offers a wide selection of Greek and international wines, as well as food and drink to pair with your wine. In the morning the bar operates as a café with blended coffee and a variety of brunch options, so no matter what time of day there is always something new to taste!
Ouzo sipped in a Traditional Taverna
The most traditional Greek drink is Ouzo, which is an anise-flavored aperitif. Ouzo is traditionally and culturally a summer drink used to cool down during the hot Mediterranean afternoons. Drinking it is considered a cultural ritual meant to bond groups together, reestablish friendships and is always a way to instantly lift anyone’s spirits!
The drink has a peculiar interaction when cold-water/ice is added to it causing it to go cloudy, it is said that the more cloudy an ouzo variety becomes to strongest the taste! Sour cheery juice often accompanies ouzo as a mixer, creating a brilliant deep pink coloration. Ouzo is typically served with meze, a selection of small dishes, like fish, meat, cheese and vegetables both to compliment the drink as well as to reduce the effects of the of the strong 45% alcohol percentage.
Ouzo is a must-try in Athens and the best place to try it is at a traditional taverna. A great one to visit is Ta Karamanlidika Tou Fani, which is known for its delicious mezes and a wide selection of ouzo. Being half deli and half taverna its distinct ambiance invokes memories of being in a small mountain village as sausages and cloves of garlic dangle over your head it is a reminder of times long gone, an atmosphere that perfectly complements ouzos simplicity and powerful cultural roots.
Often sold at mini-markets and souvenir shops, little ouzo bottles come in a variety of shapes and sizes making it the perfect gift to give a little taste of Greece back home.
A World Famous Cocktail from “The Clumsies”
Lastly, for a great dining experience with a wide selection of drinks, visit the trendy and popular restaurant “The Clumsies”. The Clumsies is known for its creative cocktails and has been named one of the best bars in the world by several publications. The Clumsies is located in the Academic center of Athens, just a few minutes away from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Providing a cozy and intimate atmosphere it’s the perfect spot for date night its elaborate drinks acting as a powerful icebreaker!
No trip to The Clumsies can be complete without a taste of the Agean Negroni, which was voted by “Time out” as the world’s best cocktail in 2019, truly a unique experience. Another stand out Greek themed cocktail is the Mediterranean Gimlet, which is based on the Xoriatiki salad, with a slightly sweet flavor one might assume it strays far from its salad inspiration but it’s a perfect match flavor wise and one of the most unique drinks in the world!
If you would like to stick to something a little more familiar the bartenders are highly skilled and knowledgeable, and they’re more than happy to create a custom cocktail based on your preferences. Watching them work their magic in order to bring their unique creations to life makes for excellent bar side entertainment. The food menu at The Clumsies is also excellent and features a variety of small mezes and modern Mediterranean-inspired dishes all of them complimenting the various cocktails on site of course.
Athens is a great place to explore different kinds of drinks and cocktails, from Greek wines to renowned ouzo and high-end cocktails. Each establishment mentioned in this blog post offers a unique experience and atmosphere, whether it’s a traditional taverna or a trendy cocktail bar. Raise a glass and exclaim “Stin Ygeia Mas” (to our health) in order to truly drink like a Greek!
Be sure to visit the places mentioned above for a truly memorable experiences in Athens.
If you’re now feeling like you want to experience a little bit of everything Greek wine has to offer then maybe our Wine Tour in Athens with Tasting will be able to satisfy that craving book now.