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It's Greek to Me

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"Mention Greek drinks to anyone and they’ll probably think about Dionysus cavorting about with his wine or the gentlemen of a certain age loitering at the corner Greek restaurant for hours with shots of ouzo. But with Americans’ taste for complex spirits and cocktails at a peak and curiosity running high, the fresh arrival of a premium Mastiha couldn’t be better timed. Boston native Effie Panagopoulos developed Kleos, her Mastiha, with a craft distillery in Greece. Mastiha, technically the sap of a tree indigenous to the Greek island of Chios, was used to make the world’s first chewing gum in ancient times.

Today she uses it in distillation of Kleos using a more multifaceted process than others on the market. The result is a cordial that’s bright, earthy and only lightly sweet. And it’s as versatile as olive oil. The signature drink she created uses only lemon juice and basil leaves to boost its fresh, earthy notes. I sampled it at Aria, the longstanding trattoria in the North End. And considering that Chios was settled in medieval times by Italians from Genoa, drinking it with Italian food would make perfect sense even to Aristotle, the godfather of logic."

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