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Mastiha - Sap From Mastic Trees - Is the Latest Must-Try Cocktail Ingredient

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"Crumbly cubes of feta cheese and thick yogurt may be what first come to mind when thinking about Greece's culinary exports. But with craft cocktails as pervasive as ever, Mastiha is also slowly acquiring this coveted status.

Tracing its roots back to at least 500 BC, Mastiha is the fragrant sap from petite evergreen Mastic trees indigenous to the volcanic Greek island of Chios. It forms striking, droplet-shaped “tears” that after a few days fall to the ground when hardened. Also known as the world’s first chewing gum, it has long been heralded for its healing digestive properties. Although this distinctly Greek product has been cherished for thousands of years as a liquor, its presence in the States is just budding.

In 2008, Effie Panagopoulos, then a brand ambassador for the Greek brandy spirit Metaxa, was at a beach bar in Mykonos where everyone was guzzling shots of Mastiha. A friend handed her one, she says, “and I had this Proustian rush. I thought, ‘I know this flavor. This is like the ypovrihio [a Greek dessert made from 100 percent Mastiha] that we had when we were kids.’’’ It was a turning point for her, and she grew smitten with the idea of starting her own brand “and putting a modern face on the ancient world of Greek spirits.” That dream will come true in the fall when Kleos, her Mastiha made by hand in small batches at a craft distillery known for top-notch ouzo, arrives in New York, California, Massachusetts and Florida. There’s even a T-shirt collaboration underway with Patricia Field."

Read the full Vogue article on Kleos Mastiha here!

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