Chios Mastiha Liqueur
Chios Mastiha Ouzo (left) and Mastiha Liqueur (right)
Typeliqueur
Country of originGreece
Region of originChios
Alcohol by volume>15%
Colourtransparent crystal clear to yellowish
Flavourmastic
Ingredientswater, alcohol, sugar, mastic

Mastika or mastiha is a liqueur seasoned with mastic, a resin with a slightly pine or cedar-like flavor gathered from the mastic tree, a small evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean region. In Greece, mastiha (Greek: μαστίχα) or mastichato (Greek: μαστιχάτο) is a sweet liqueur produced with the mastika resin from the Greek island of Chios.

Greek mastika is made by distilling the mastika crystals.[citation needed] Sugar is typically added. It is a sweet liqueur that is typically consumed at the end of a meal. It has a distinctive flavor, reminiscent of pine and herbs. It is claimed to have medicinal properties and to aid digestion.[1]

Chios Mastiha

Mastic shrub — Pistacia lentiscus
Mastic shrub — Pistacia lentiscus

Chios Mastiha Liqueur (Greek: Μαστίχα Χίου, Greek pronunciation: [masˈtixa ˈçi.u]) is a liqueur flavoured with mastic distillate or mastic oil from the island of Chios. The name Chios Mastiha has protected designation of origin status in the European Union.[2] Chios Mastiha liqueur is clear with a sweet aroma. It is traditionally served cold.

Production

The process is regulated by Greek law and includes the flavouring of alcohol with mastic oil by agitation or the distillation of mastic with alcohol. The solution is then diluted with water and sweetened with sugar. The final alcoholic strength by volume of Chios Mastiha must be at least 15%.

Flavouring

Main article: Mastic (plant resin)

The only flavouring agents used in Chios Mastiha liqueur are an alcoholic distillate of mastic or mastic oil made from Chios mastic. Mastic is the hardened sap harvested from the mastic tree, Pistacia lentiscus var chia, a small evergreen shrub that grows on rocky terrain on the southern part of the island. Chios mastic is certified by the Agricultural Products Certification and Supervision Organization as part of the Hellenic Ministry of Rural Development and Food.[3] The island's mastic production is controlled by a co-operative of medieval villages, the Mastichochoria.

Producers and distributors

Chios

Wider Greece

United States

History

Mastic has been harvested for at least 2,500 years since Greek antiquity. The first mention of actual mastic 'tears' was by Hippocrates. Hippocrates used mastic for the prevention of digestive problems, colds and as a breath freshener. Roman emperors used mastic along with honey, pepper, and egg in the spiced wine conditum paradoxum. Digestive liqueurs, similar to Mastiha but made with grapes, were known as the Greek elixirs before the French Revolution.

See also

References

  1. ^ Difford, Simon. "Mastiha (AKA:Mastika, Masticha, Mastic, Mαστίχα". www.diffordsguide.com. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Masticha Chiou". Database of Origin and Registration. European Commission Agriculture and Rural Development. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Inspection and Certification of PDO and PGI Products". Agrocert. Hellenic Agricultural Organization. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  4. ^ "The Growers' Spirit in the UK". Mastiha World.
  5. ^ Doss, Laine. "Fos Greek Mastiha: Go Greek at the Setai". Miami New Times. Miami New Times, LLC. Retrieved 29 August 2017.