In Greece, the food that is served is extra fresh. If you eat a piece of fruit, for example, chances are pretty good it was ripened on the tree or vine and picked shortly before you started eating it. The end result is that food tends to taste delicious, since the ingredients are so fresh.
However, what if you want to preserve the fresh flavor of the fruit? The Greeks have many strategies, and making fruit-based beverages is one of them. Here’s more information about these drinks:
Making Traditional Greek Fruit Drinks
To make your own fruit drinks in the traditional Greek way, it is important to understand that this is not a recipe – it’s a method that can be used with a variety of different types of fruits. Traditionally, these drinks are made with cherries, so you might want to start with those the first time you try to make one of these yourself. Here is the method:
- Prepare the fruit. Select the freshest, ripest fruit you can find. Clean the fruit, remove the peels, and remove the seeds or pits. You will also want to chop the fruit.
- Juice or press the fruit. Place the fruit in a mortar and pestle and crush it until it forms into a fine pulp and releases its juices. Strain the juice through a colander or cheesecloth. You can also juice the fruit if you have a juicer.
- Add juice to saucepan. Transfer the juice to a saucepan and add sugar. For every cup of liquid, you will want to add two cups of sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and let the sugar dissolve. Let cool on stovetop.
- Bottle the syrup. Transfer the syrup to a jar, cover it, and refrigerate it until use.
- Make the drink. Add 1 tablespoon of syrup to a glass with ½ cup of fresh juice. Add ice cubes and a little bit of water, if desired. This is the traditional Greek fruit beverage! Note that you can use any fruit syrup you have on hand, you don’t need to make the syrup.
A Brief History of Greek Fruit Drinks
As with many foods and beverages that are part of Greek cuisine today, these types of fruit drinks have been around since Ancient Greece. The ancient writer, Herodotus, mentioned them in some of his writings, particularly the version that is made from cherries. He wrote, in particular, about the Scythians, an ancient population of Greeks who were said to have taken shelter in the winter underneath their cherry trees.
Preserving fruit was especially important in Ancient Greece because there was no refrigeration in the same way that there is today. There also wasn’t really a chance that fruit could be found out of their normal growing seasons. These traditional fruit drinks were made to help provide the diet with extra nourishment, especially during the winter months when fresh food is harder to find.
Consider making this beverage for yourself so you can see how delicious it is!