By F. Sot Fitzgerald
Like the words, "vasectomy," and "tequila" mentioning Ouzo tends to bring a recoil from one's audience.
Admittedly, Ouzo is no light fare. It's made of alcohol spirit, anisette, and various herbs, the latter of which typically are scarcely detectable (at least in the Ouzos you find in the U.S.). Ouzo's obvious and overwhelming characteristic is that smell- the smell of black licorice. If you don't like black licorice, you will never like Ouzo. End of story.
|Those who do like black licorice
might find this to be an enjoyable drink. Remember, Ouzo is an aperitif.
If you drink it straight, drink only a small amount and do so before a
meal (hopefully, though, it won't be breakfast) so to relax you and stoke
your appetite. Ouzo isn't made to be chugged or knocked back in shots.
Sure, you can do that, and you can also shove billiard balls in your rearend
rather than push them about with a pool cue. It's a question of what's
best or befitting.
Achaia Clauss Ouzo costs under $10 for a 750 ml bottle, and is imported by Blair Importers Ltd. of Lake Success, New York. As Ouzo typically is, this brand is clear (unless you add water, then it turns cloudy) and weighs in at 76 proof. While it does have an alcohol ester, it is by no means overpowering. The anisette/black licorice smell is potent but not obscene, and I couldn't detect any other aromas.
You can sip this Ouzo straight or add half an ounce to your two to three ounces of Ouzo. I prefer to do the latter, as it also makes the drink feel softer, less intense, and cools the heat you'd otherwise feel when you swallow it.
As with Sambuca, you can use this as an adjunct to your dessert by dropping a shot of it in your coffee, and perhaps adding some whipcream to the top. Achaia Clauss is an inexpensive and solidly made Ouzo. If you like black licorice, why not give this one a try? (Rating ***3/4)
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