I dreamt last night that Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka the most influential drinks industry professional of our modern age, set up a hospital. Instead of medicines, spirits were being handed out as a cure for whatever ailments had been contracted.
(Think an adult version of Harry Potter’s St. Mungo’s where chocolate was the cure for being struck down by dementors who were known to “suck hope and happiness out of their surroundings.”)
I awakened after being handed two 50ml bottles in a pouch. I don’t remember the diagnosis, maybe substitute Covid stress for dementors. I am positive that what was inside, at least one, of those drink-me bottles was Metaxa 12 Star.
Living with a Greek speaker in the house, summer without a dose of the Hellenic sun is almost impossible. This summer, I’ve been visiting the islands by indulging in the Greek spirits in my liquor cabinet. Right now, I am closing my eyes and seeing myself sitting in Samos savoring the sun while sipping the most famous of all the Greek spirits – Metaxa.
I am not alone – Metaxa is celebrating a partnership with LoveGreece by producing a limited edition bottle inspired by the Aegean seas and famous ‘Greek evil-eye’.
What is Metaxa
For those of you who might not be familiar with Metaxa, this dark amber spirit is known as Greece’s answer to French cognac or brandy, but it really is in a class all its own. With a combination of Muscat wines from the island of Samos, aged wine distillates and botanicals found throughout the Mediterranean, Metaxa truly cannot be compared to any other spirit.
The legend has it that Spyros Metaxa, born in 1848 to rich Greek parents in the rag trade, travelled near and far representing the family business. After years of drinking different spirits and wines all around the world, Spyros made it his life’s work to create his own that could rival the best. In 1888, as it proudly states on the bottle, Metaxa was born and has remained popular ever since.
What is 12 Star
Metaxa comes in many star-rated expressions – 5 star, 7 star, and 12 star. Like whisky, the number indicates that the youngest spirit in the bottle is 12 years old. There can be older spirits as well, but 12 is the youngest here, making it the grand-daddy of the Metaxa collection.
On the nose, you can immediately smell the roses that are one of the botanicals included. As a lover of dried apricots and figs, I am sent into bliss by my first sip. You are definitely reminded that it’s 40%ABV, but the finish is smooth and ends with a nod to the citrus family.
How you drink Metaxa 12 Star
I drink Metaxa either neat or over ice in a rocks glass, but it can definitely be used in cocktails. Leave it to Vasilis Kyritsis, my friend and co-owner of The Clumsies, to create some amazing cocktails that are easy to make at home.
Where you can buy Metaxa
Now available exclusively at Fortnum & Mason the limited edition 7 Stars bottle will offer everyone the opportunity to enjoy a taste of Greece this summer without needing to visit the Greek Isles themselves.