Text: Haris Vekris
Photos: Nikos Ragkousis
This is actually the first time we didn’t have to get on a boat and travel in order to write an article for our blog’s “On Site” column! The reason is simple: “Ouzo Makryonitis”, which was launched a few days ago, is produced right here on Syros!
The Makryonitis Syros Distillery is barely one-and-a-half years old, since its facilities produced their first distillate (tsipouro) in September 2017. The brand-new, state-of-the-art distillery is housed in a converted traditional country cottage located a stone’s throw away from the sea in the village of Vari. Externally, the building blends discreetly with its grounds while the facilities’ interior is ample testimony to the Makryonitis family’s love for orderliness and passion for work.
On graduating from high school on Syros, Nikolas Makryonitis, a young and enthusiastic businessman, began his studies in the field of Physics. His love for cooking drove him to engage professionally in the culinary arts for almost a decade, an experience which significantly helped him in improving his culinary expertise and perception. After working for restaurants in Greece and abroad, Nikolas chose to anchor his future on something that he had loved since his childhood: his father’s favorite hobby. In Syros and, to be more exact, throughout the South Aegean Region, the passion and in-depth engagement of chemist Giorgos Makryonitis with distillation and distillates is no secret.
After some serious preparations, exhaustive research, and repeated trials, the distillery’s maiden ouzo batch emerged from its cutting-edge still in Vari just last November. The distillery’s 42% vol ouzo contains 50% distillate flavored with anise, star anise, coriander, true cardamom, mastic, and fennel (a fragrant herb which, found abundantly growing in nature, is also a Syros cuisine staple). On February 1, 2019, “Ouzo Makryonitis” made its first appearance in the market of the capital of the Cyclades, in an eye-catching 200ml bottle.
Apart from its ouzo, the MAKRYONITIS SYROS DISTILLERY can rightfully boast of another three, excellent distillates:
- MAKRYONITIS TSIPOURO, made from the varieties Monemvasia (70%) and Assyrtiko (30%)
- 17-01, an aged tsipouro that remains in its oak barrels for one whole year; and
- PLANTAE, a tsipouro wholly made from Assyrtiko, flavored with nine herbs native to Syros, and sold in a bottle whose gorgeous label has been designed by artist Konstantinos Katagas.
Mind my words: next time you’re visiting our island and sitting at a small taverna on the beach, ask for “Ouzo Makryonitis”. Once you do that, it is more than likely that, on your way back home, along with the emblematic Syros lokums and nougat pies, you’ll also be carrying with you ouzo made in Syros!
MAKRYONITIS SYROS DISTILLERY
Vari, Syros Island, Greece
Phone: (+30) 6946026281