Ouzo (Greek: ούζο, IPA: [ˈuzo]) is a dry anise-flavoured aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece and Cyprus. It is made from rectified spirits that have undergone a process of distillation and flavoring. Its taste is similar to other anise liqueurs like rakı, arak, pastis and sambuca.
Ouzo has its roots in tsipouro, which is said to have been the work of a group of 14th-century monks on Mount Athos. One version of it was flavoured with anise. This version eventually came to be called ouzo.
Modern ouzo distillation largely took off in the beginning of the 19th century following Greek independence. The first ouzo distillery was founded in Tyrnavos in 1856 by Nikolaos Katsaros, giving birth to the famous ouzo Tyrnavou. When absinthe fell into disfavour in the early 20th century, ouzo was one of the products whose popularity rose to fill the gap; it was once called "a substitute for absinthe without the wormwood".In 1932, ouzo producers developed a method of distillation using copper stills that is now the standard method of production. One of the largest producers of ouzo today is Varvayanis (Βαρβαγιάννης),located in the town of Plomari in the southeast portion of the island of Lesbos, while in the same town Pitsiladi (Πιτσιλαδή), a variety of high-quality ouzo, is also distilled.
Ouzo is usually mixed with water, becoming cloudy white, sometimes with a faint blue tinge, and served with ice cubes in a small glass. Ouzo can also be drunk straight from a shot glass.