Ouzo is Greece’s national drink. However, given that it’s a somewhat obscure alcoholic spirit, it can be challenging to find a good-quality specimen.
In this guide, we will present you with the top 10 best ouzo brands that you can find in the USA:
- Metaxa Ouzo
- Ouzo of Plomari
- Tsantali Ouzo
- Ouzo 12
- Ouzo Jivaeri
- Kazanisto Ouzo
- Romios Ouzo
- Babatzim Ouzo
- Short Path Ouzo
- Stone Barn Ouzo
Scroll down to see them all or jump ahead using the links above. We will also cover where to buy ouzo.
See The Best Ouzo Cocktails
Metaxa is best known for its unique cask-aged brandies. However, it also produces great ouzo. While it might not be the most premium option, it’s often quite easy to find in the USA.
It offers a refreshing bouquet of liquorice and anise, which also fills the palate before producing a balanced finish.
"A classic ouzo that's widely available in the USA, it offers the quintessential experience and great value."
Founded by Isidoros Arvanitis, Plomari is one of the oldest ouzo distilleries in Greece. Its ouzo is made following a traditional and top-secret recipe on the island of Lesbos with 18 small copper stills.
Its ingredients combine salt, anise, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Consequently, it’s dry, bracing, and refreshing.
With a stunningly modernised bottle, Tsantali’s ouzo is a centrepiece on the table. Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult to find. Its crystal clear colour conceals an elegant yet robust mouthfeel with which aromatics of linden blossom, coriander, and cardamon that accompany the anise.
Unfortunately, it’s admittedly a little difficult to find. However, you might have some luck at a local Greek deli or liquor store.
Named after the 12th barrel sample that was retained by the brand, Ouzo 12 has been in operation since 1880. It was first founded by the Kaloyannis in Istanbul, but the distillery is now based in Glafira outside of Volos. It delivers a pronounced aniseed flavour with aromas of fennel and liquorice while leaving subtle sweetness in the finish.
Occasionally referred to as “Tzivaeri”, Jivaeri enjoys the status as the country’s oldest ouzo brand. It was founded in 1856 by Nikolaos Katsaros and remains a family business to this day. Today, it continues to produce Tsipouro but it’s best known for its ouzo.
Jivaeri features 14 different aromatic spices and herbs and is triple distilled. The result is a subtle and clean spirit with distinctive notes of aniseed and other aromatics.
Named after the kazania copper stills used to produce the distillate, Kazanisto is made on the island of Chios by the Stoupakis distillery founded at the turn of the 20th century. Expect a clean spirit that delivers bracing flavours of star anise contrasted with spicy black pepper.
An affordable ouzo, Romios offers a light body with fresh aromas of aniseed and other herbs. It provides a clean finish with a distinctive sweet aftertaste.
Founded in 1875, the Babatzimopoulos family have been making ouzo for four generations. Today, they also produce wine, tispouro, and other liqueurs. Nearly 150 years later, Babatzim is still made according to Anestis Babatzimopoulos’ original formula.
The ouzo is distilled in handmade copper cauldrons and is often praised for its fragrant and elegant aroma. Its mouthfeel is balanced and offers a harmoniously sweet and aromatic aftertaste.
Although technically ouzo, the Massachusetts Short Path distillery can’t be legally recognised as one since it isn’t made in Greece. Nevertheless, it follows the traditional southern Greek process with ingredients including anise and liquorice root.
Interestingly, Short Path is the strongest ouzo on this list with 45% ABV. It delivers a powerful bouquet that’s dominated by anise with a sweet finish.
Despite being another American-made ouzo, Stone Barn Brandyworks Eastside is the only one that actually states that it’s made from grape pomace. Indeed, pinot noir grappa is used as the based, which is interestingly combined with green Moroccan anise.
Although the most expensive ouzo on this list, especially given that it comes in a half bottle, it’s actually one of the most complex! Its overall dry mouthfeel reveals delicate notes of anise and other spices. Therefore, if you’re okay with breaking tradition an opting for American ouzo, it’s one worth trying.
Where To Buy Ouzo In The USA?
Although a celebrated beverage in Greece, ouzo can be quite tricky to find in the USA. In most cases, you’ll likely spot a bottle of Metaxa in a local liquor store, but you’ll rarely be given a choice.
Otherwise, you can try searching online, but not all retailers will provide you with a large selection. For instance, Reserve Bar is usually one of our favourite online liquor stores, but it only retails Metaxa.
Meanwhile, Drizly appears to have a range of different ouzo. However, bear in mind that Drizly works by partnering with local stores who then deliver the liquor directly to you in a short period of time.
Therefore, if you don’t see many results on Drizly, it usually means that there aren’t any shops that sell it locally.
Finally, if you’re serious about getting a high-quality bottle of ouzo, you mustn’t give up! Look up reputable Greek restaurants or delis in your area. Since it’s a speciality, they’ll likely stock some or at the very least be able to point you in the right direction.
Now that you have read about the best ouzo brands, why don’t you check out more of our resources?