A refreshing summer drink made with ouzo and lemonade
Ούζο λεμονάδα. Let’s all raise a glass to Billie’s Koumbara Georgia. Several years ago, during a summer get together, Georgia served a pitcher filled with ούζο λεμονάδα or ouzo lemonade. She made it simply, with a good quality store-bought lemonade and a generous glug of ouzo. Stir, serve over ice, and marvel at the simple things in life.
Since then ouzo lemonade has become a staple during the warm weather months. It is refreshing, tart and sweet in the way that ouzo is. We like to keep this drink as simple as Koumbara Georgia did; the only way we dress it up is by adding a sprig of either mint or rosemary (our preference) to help stir the drink and add an extra layer of flavour. So go ahead, pour yourself a glass of ouzo lemonade and cheers to family, friends and Koumbara Georgia!
What is ouzo?
Ouzo is an anise flavoured liquor made from grape must (what is left over from making wine) that was first commercially distilled in 1856.. In order for it to be called ouzo, it must be made in either Greece or Cyprus as it is PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication). For these reasons, and that fact that it is so beloved, ouzo is often referred to as the national drink of Greece.
The anise flavour (like black licorice) is quite strong and so ouzo does take some getting used to. It is usually served straight or neat, or diluted in water. When the clear ouzo is diluted in water the drink becomes an opaque white colour. Occasionally ouzo is served over ice.
What is the alcohol content of ouzo?
Most varieties of ouzo fall at around 80 proof, meaning that 40% of the liquid is alcohol. Although this is less than more potent alcohols like certain whiskey and rum, the high sugar content of ouzo requires careful attention! The sugar will delay the release of alcohol into the blood stream and so a few drinks of ouzo lemonade can really catch up to you if you’re not careful. Please, as always, drink responsibly.
Store bought versus homemade lemonade
Sure, you can squeeze your own lemons and make your own lemonade (we’ve done that too and show you how in our post on rose flavoured lemonade), but sometimes simple is fine. You can easily purchase a good quality lemonade and use that! We do, and it’s delicious.
How to sweeten your ouzo lemonade
We don’t add any sweetener to our ouzo lemonade, but the tartness of your lemonade may vary. If you would like your drink a little sweeter, add one teaspoon at a time of simple syrup and adjust to taste. Making simple syrup is super simple – we always have a small jar in the fridge and use it to sweeten ice tea, cocktails and cold coffee.
To make simple syrup:
- Combine equal parts water and sugar in a pot.
- Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar melts
- Transfer to a glass jar or container and allow to cool
- Store in refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.
- (Because it is so easy to make, we make small batches of simple syrup often, so that it stays fresh)
What to serve with your ouzo lemonade
Ouzo is so popular in Greece that there are taverns referred to as ouzeries, or ouzo bars, where varieties of ouzo are consumed happily accompanied by several varieties of mezes (small appetizers). If you want to recreate an ouzerie at home, consider serving our ouzo lemonade (although truth be told purists would object to ouzo being served in a cocktail of any sort) with these amazing Greek mezedes:
We love hearing from you! If you have made our recipes, or if you have a question or comment, or simply want to say Hi!, please leave a comment and star rating below! Also be sure to follow along with us, on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We have lots of fun over there.
- 1 fluid ounce ouzo
- 12 fluid ounces lemonade see Recipe Note
- 4-5 ice cubes
- 1 lemon slice
- 1 sprig rosemary or fresh mint
- Place your ice in a tall glass and pour the ouzo and lemonade over it. Use a stir stick to mix. Garnish with lemon slice and / or rosemary sprig if desired.1 fluid ounce ouzo, 12 fluid ounces lemonade, 4-5 ice cubes, 1 sprig rosemary or fresh mint, 1 lemon slice
- Cheers, and Enjoy!