A Greek aperitif cocktail make with strawberries and watermelon
Cheers to summer! We love to entertain at home, and now that our world has changed, inviting a few guests over for an evening under the stars is even more appealing. Not really bar and club people to begin with (those days are long gone), the idea of going out to mix and mingle with too many other people is a little unsettling. So, we’re thankful to have the opportunity to host comfortable get-togethers chez nous. And we’re even more thankful to ouzo, the lovely anise flavoured liqueur that we have grown very fond of playing with.
Growing up our parents always had ouzo in the house. They have never been big drinkers; the only alcohol they consume typically is our dad’s homemade wine with dinner. But when guests were over, our mother would always put out the bottle of ouzo and sometimes a bottle of liqueur made of banana (Λικέρ Μπανάνα). These were always offered alongside a porcelain serving dish that held almonds, walnuts and dried chickpeas called stragalia. As curious kids, when no one was looking, we would dip our fingers into the neck of the bottles to have a quick taste of these adult-only, special for company, drinks. We considered both to be quite gross, but over the years we have come to appreciate at least the ouzo.
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Our parents still host the same way that they did years ago, although in recent years the number of guests they have at one time, and the frequency of their parties has decreased. Still, when a name day comes around, they are sure to invite at least a few of their couple friends and every gathering begins the same way; around a table that offers ouzo and snacks.
We’re really happy that we didn’t give up on taste testing ouzo, that quintessential Greek anise-flavoured liqueur that is a staple of Greek living. It can be considered the national drink of Greece, and because it is interwoven in Greece’s history and culture has been granted a European Union-approved Protected Designation of Origin. So, although ouzo can be enjoyed anywhere, it can only be made in Greece.
And, just as ouzo can be enjoyed anywhere, it can also be enjoyed in so many different ways. Whether it is in a beach-front terrasse in Kalamata, served with a tall glass of ice water, at our parents’ home in Montreal, used to serve spoon sweet vanilla or as a soak for chunks of cantaloupe, the taste of ouzo will always tease our tongue with memories of past Greece holidays and wall to wall guests in our childhood home.
What if I can’t find frozen fruit? Can I freeze my own?
Sure you can, and here’s how. Cut your fruit into small chunks and lay them on a baking tray or other flat surface which is lined with either plastic wrap or parchment paper. Cover the fruit with more plastic wrap or parchment paper and place in your freezer until completely frozen (this will take about 12 hours, but maybe less). Once your fruit is frozen you can store it in a freezer bag.
You will probably have to do this with the watermelon as we have never seen frozen watermelon for purchase. Frozen strawberries are however readily available.
Can I double this recipe?
Yup! You can even triple it, or quadruple it. The limiting factor will be what you can easily blend in your blender, and the number of people you are serving this too. 🙂
Can I make this frozen cocktail without the alcohol?
It won’t technically be a cocktail if you don’t include the ouzo, but it will still be a great and refreshing summer drink. We’ve actually served the no alcohol version to children and they love it!
Has this recipe made you thirsty for more? If so, check out these other ouzo cocktails and drinks:
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Strawberry and watermelon frozen ouzo cocktail
- 3/4 cup frozen strawberry
- 3/4 cup frozen watermelon
- 2 - 3 tbsp cold water
- 2 tbsp ouzo
- 1 tsp simple syrup *
For simple syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
To make simple syrup
- Combine the sugar and the water in a small pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
- Transfer the simple syrup to a covered sterile jar and keep in the refrigerator to use as needed. It will keep in the fridge for up to 1 month.
To make drink
- Place all ingredients for your drink into a blender and blend until smooth and there are no chunks left.
- Pour into a cocktail glass. If you like you can prepare the garnish by using a decorative skewer to hold a chunk of fresh strawberry and watermelon.
- Serve immediately, and enjoy!