The story of Amorgion, a tasty rakomelo

• Category: Interviews
A small island in the middle of the Aegean Sea, Amorgos is a traditional place untouched by mass tourism. It is a fortunate thing that this place still lives in authentic and calm tempos, as shown by the local habitudes, the peaceful way of life, the friendly talking of the people, the traditional cooking, the drinks produced with natural processes... Such a traditional drink of the island is rakomelo Amorgion, a delicious beverage with long history that dates from the ancient times. Mr Antonis Vekris produces Amorgion for many years and talked to about the history and the production of this beverage.

Mr Bekris, why did you name your drink Amorgion?

Many people believe that the name comes from the island, but actually the name of our drink comes from the plant Amorgi that grows on Amorgos and some other Cyclades islands since the ancient times.

What is the story of Amorgion?

Actually some references of Amorgion come from the 5th century B.C., when the plant Amorgi was used to dye the ancient tunics, as mentioned in the theatrical plays of Aristophanes. Also a traditional drink that the inhabitants of Amorgos create is a beverage from raki, sugar, cinnamon and carnation. This beverage was named psimeni raki and it was used to treat guests. From this tradition, we were inspired of Amorgion. Of course, we did some changes to the traditional recipe. For example, we replaced sugar for honey and we added 8 more herbs that grow on the island.

How much time it takes to produce Amorgion?

Amorgion is produced by distillates of grapes. The distillate needs a process of fermentation that lasts for about one month, depending on the weather. Then, the product is doubly distilled and finally honey and herbs are added, which give to the drink a delicious and unique taste. The rakomelo Amorgion is a drink for before and after meals. It is usually a strong drink, but there are also lighter versions for women or people who do not like strong drinks.

Apart from Amorgion, what other drinks do you produce?

We produce versions of rakomelo Amorgion, including Mastihato (rakomelo with mastic), Lemontelo (rakomelo with lemon), Portomelo (rakomelo with orange) and Melikraton, that resembles to the drink of the ancient Greeks. We also produce ouzo and tsipouro for drinks and pasteli, a traditional Greek sweet.

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