Barbayannis Ouzo Museum in Lesvos
The Barbayannis Ouzo Museum: The Barbayanis Ouzo museum portrays centuries of dedicated work in the elaboration of this traditional alcoholic drink, which basically is a Greek anise-flavored liquor. But before getting into the features of the museum, let's examine the roots of this drink and how the Barbayannis family relates to them, in order to understand its importance. The precursor of ouzo was the tsipouro, a similar alcoholic beverage also known as raki on the East side. Its distillation got popular during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, but it was after Greece independence, in the 19th century, when ouzo appeared in the scene, taking Lesvos as the center of its production.
Most sources point to Efstathios J. Barbayannis, a man with experience in different distillation processes, as the one responsible for this implementation. The knowledge of Barbayannis was gained on Odessa, the Russian city where he was from.
However, in the year 1860, he immigrated to Greece, more precisely to the port of Plomari, in the island of Lesvos. As this area has always been very fertile and counted on the advantage of having easy access to running waters, lots of unusual herbs many of them sweet-smelling- along with the many varieties of aniseed, gave the chance to Mr. Barbayannis to put his experience into practice. The result of his experimentation was high-quality ouzo.
Going back to our days, it is worth to remark that the tradition started by Efstathios Barbayannis has been kept for more than 140 years by his family since they still keep on practicing the same ouzo distillation procedure. They also select the same quality ingredients that were used in the past as well, although the original recipe has been improved over the five generations that have been holding this tradition.
However, in spite of the time that has passed by, the recipe is still a secret. It is also important to point to make that all these habits and techniques related to ouzo elaboration coexist with technology in the modern settlement, still in Plomari, that privately own Barbayannis successors.
Therefore, the traditional techniques are combined with the production facilities available in our days in order to take the best from both ages. That is why the Barbayannis Ouzo museum, located next to the current distillery, allows visitors to get in touch with all these facts. So, they can see the original equipment that was used to bottle and label the Ouzo Barbayanni Blue, along with other elements related to its origin.
The museum has some other important elements as well, like the first alembic used for testing the secret recipes, used by Barbayannis family. It was brought from Constantinople, where it was made in 1858. In conclusion, the Barbayannis Ouzo museum emphasizes the tradition related to this typical drink, which origins have been respected and taken into account a long time. In fact, Ouzo Barbayanni keeps on being a synonym of first-rate quality products in all of Greece until today.