Although tsipouro is a clear, colourless beverage, it is made from a combination of both red and white grapes.
As with wine production, grape variety, soil composition, vineyard orientation and altitude all play vital roles in the quality and taste of the end product.
Distillation results in three fractions: the ‘head’, ‘heart and ‘tail’. It’s the ‘heart’ that is used in the finished product.
Distillation takes place between October and mid-December and is traditionally marked by village celebrations in the tsipouro producing areas of Greece.
Wood, coal or natural gas can be used to heat the stills. If wood or coal are used, the heat is regulated by air flow control by opening or closing the door beneath the cook-top of the copper still.
The base of authentic copper stills are encased in brick to ensure internal temperatures which do not change due to fluctuating ambient temperatures.
Until 1988, direct sales of tsipouro to the public were forbidden by Greek law. Before then, in only specific regions of the country were producers allowed to produce and distribute it within their local vicinity with special permission.
Tsipouro has digestive properties and may also be consumed as the ultimate ‘finishing-touch’ after a rich meal.
Tsipouro production involves a fermentation and multiple distillation techniques, unlike Ouzo.
Normally a clear beverage, the anise in Tsipouro makes it go a cloudy-white when water or ice is added.