Mastic trees flourish on the Greek island of Chios. In fact, it’s one of the only places in the world where these trees are found, despite repeated attempts at growing them elsewhere. Natives of Chios have long used the trees’ aromatic sap (called mastiha) for baking. Today, it’s still found in breads, ice cream and other sweets, lending a specific signature elasticity to baked goods. It also happens to be the source of Homeric Mastiha—a not-too-sweet and refreshing liqueur distilled exclusively on Chios. The Stoupakis Distillery, with its storied history, produces this mastic tipple according to centuries-old recipes, beginning with the mastiha extraction. And the result is an uncategorizable aperitif, remotely related to the potent ouzo, but something entirely its own.
A sip of Homeric Mastiha reveals heavy anise notes, accompanied by a gentle creaminess. Subtle hints of mint give way to an earthiness, and altogether it is light, airy and easy. It also registers at 28% ABV, so it doesn’t pack too great of a punch. The Homericon Mastiha truly embodies the spirit, and maybe even the island from which it hails.
Stoupakis Chios Mastiha Liqueur is available online for $30.
Images courtesy of Stoupakis Chios