There are four schools of thought when it comes to the etymology of the word “ouzo”, the Greeks’ beloved drink:
During the 19th century, the silk producers of Thessaly exported considerable quantities of precious silkworm cocoons to the great tradesmen of Marseille. Since the merchandise was of superb quality, it was shipped in wooden crates bearing a stamp in Italian: “USO DI MARSIGLIA”, meaning “FOR USE IN MARSEILLE”. Legend has it that, one day, the Turkish consulate’s physician was in the area and was asked to taste the local raki. Delighted by the alcoholic drink’s intense flavor, he cried out: “That’s like uso di marsiglia”. The mispronunciation of the term “giouzo” (from the Italian word “uso”) employed by customs authorities gradually came to be the official name of the local aniseed-flavored raki.
Registration of ouzo as an alcoholic beverage under the “Protected Geographical Indication” designation forbids producers beyond the borders of Greece and Cyprus to attribute to their own product the name “ouzo”.