One warm spring evening on a roof-top terrace in Athens, I sipped a pale pink cocktail, as the sun went down. My drink, a Cosmopolis, was made from Skinos, a delicious Mastiha liqueur which has a subtle but distinctive, slightly aniseed flavour and can be served chilled as an apéritif or digestif. It is made from mastic, a resin collected from an evergreen bush found only on the Greek Island of Chios. For thousands of years, this aromatic resin has been harvested by making small cuts in the bark, allowing the sap to form teardrops that harden and fall to the floor.
Thanks to the Grecotel Pallas Athena for introducing me to Mastic. A bottle of Skinos found its way into my luggage for the journey home. I rather wish I’d bought two. Here’s an easy-to-make cocktail made from mastiha liqueur, Skinos, vodka and cranberry juice.
This light, summer Mastiha cocktail is the perfect complement to smoked salmon hors d’oeuvre.
- 20 ml Skinos liquer (Mastiha liqueur)
- 30 ml vodka
- 20 ml cranberry juice
- 10 ml fresh lime juice
Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled Martini glass.
Garnish with a slice of lime and it is ready to serve.
Mastika / Mastiha / Masticha is a liqueur made from mastic, the sap of the evergreen bush, Pistacia lentiscus on the Greek island of Chios. It is used to flavour sweets, ice creams and liqueurs and is found in cosmetics, toothpaste and even varnishes. It is believed to be very good for ulcers. The name is derived from the Greek verb ‘to chew’ or masticate as it was once used as a chewing gum, keeping teeth white and breath fresh.
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