||It has been suggested that this article be merged with tsikoudia. (Discuss) Proposed since August 2012.|
Tsipouro (Greek: Τσίπουρο) is a pomace brandy from Greece and in particular Thessaly (Tsipouro Tyrnavou), Epirus, Macedonia, Mani Peninsula, and the island of Crete (where Cretans call it tsikoudia). Tsipouro is a strong distilled spirit containing 40-45% alcohol by volume and is produced from the pomace (the residue of the wine press). It comes in two types: Pure or anise-flavored.
According to tradition the first production of tsipouro was the work of some Greek Orthodox monks. This occurred during the 14th century on Mount Athos in Macedonia, Greece. Gradually, this idea of using the pomace left over from the wine-making process in order to produce a distilled spirit was passed to viticulturists in poorer regions of the whole country, which already used the distillation process for other purposes. Thus, tsipouro was born.
Method of production
While not an exact science, tsipouro production is a complex process that combines physics, chemistry, biology and agriculture.
Ripe dark grapes harvested by hand are passed through machinery that removes stems and crushes the grapes into a juicy mass. The mass is left to settle for a few days, just enough to get fermentation started. In older times wine would be collected and only the solid residue would be used for tsipouro in an attempt to get the most out of the plant. 
In the next stage the mass is fed into distillation units. During this crucial stage conditions of temperature and pressure are closely monitored as the hot condensed liquid comes out drop by drop. The first and last distinct batches (known as the 'head' and the 'tail') are discarded. Only the intermediate and most valuable batch (known as the 'heart') is kept to make tsipouro. The above process is repeated at least once more. This means that the final product is double or even multiple distilled thus ensuring a very high level of purity. .
As a final stage the distillate is left to settle and mature either in stainless tanks or wooden barrels. The latter case gives rise to aged tsipouro, a relatively new beverage that can be compared to whiskey.
Depending on the time of year, tsipouro is used either as refreshment or as a hot beverage, and depending on the time of day, it replaces the drinking of coffee or wine. Tsipouro and tsikoudia, as with all alcoholic beverages in Greece, always seem to coincide with various social gatherings.
According to Greek manufacturers, the best way to enjoy tsipouro is straight from the freezer. Some people prefer to either dilute with water or add ice, although ice causes a violent heat transfer that may undermine the fine structure of the liquid.
Relation to ouzo
Although most Greeks prefer pure tsipouro, anise-flavored is also available, produced especially in Central Macedonia, Chalkidiki, and Thessaly. Anise-flavored tsipouro and ouzo have almost identical taste but vary enormously in their method of production. The alcohol used to produce ouzo is 96% ABV ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin (Rectified spirit obtained from agricultural products) and therefore does not retain the flavours of the primary distilled products, whereas the lower degree of distillation of Tsipouro allows it to retain the aroma of the pomace.
- Greek cuisine
- Ancient Greece and wine
- Tsikoudia (Crete)
- Zivania (Cyprus)
- Grappa (Italy)
- Greek food products
- Orujo (Northwest Spain)
- "Greece is claiming tsipouro". Kathimerini (in English Edition) (Athens, Greece). 21 April 2006. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
- "Tsipouro : Greek traditional distillation from grapes". www.tsipouro.gr. Winery of Tirvanos. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
- "Idoniko Tsipouro Anise". Nestor Imports. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
- "Traditional Greek Spirits". Vergina Imports. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2010.