Maybe most of us regard Greece as a summer country with warm sand, hot winds and dusty streets, but there are winters in Greece too, of course. Greece has several ski areas, and even in the mildest areas, like Nafplio, the thermometer could crawl down to zero. And then the Greeks drink Rakomelo. Rakomelo is perfect in Advent and Christmas, as it consists of sweet honey and Christmas spices like cinnamon and cloves.
It is possible that you can’t get hold of Greek spirits like raki, tsipoura, tsikouda, (dear children, etc…) Do not despair. Vodka will highlight the honey and spice tastes, but use grappa if you want more character, more like the original Rakomelo.
- 75 ml raki or other liquor (see above)
- 1 teaspoon Greek thyme honey or other liquid honey
- 1 / 2 cinnamon stick
- 1 clove
Put everything in a small pan and heat it slowly and gently until the honey melts and steam starts to rise. Remove the cinnamon stick and clove. (The cinnamon may of course be used again if you make more Rakomelo.) Drink while it’s hot! Enough for two shots, or one small drink (in Greek standards).
It may sound French, but this coffee is as Greek as it gets. Invented in Thessaloniki in 1957, it has spread to every nook and cranny in Greece, and is to be drunken slowly in the company of a glass of water. The basic ingredients are instant coffee, water and ice cubes, but sugar and evaporated milk can be added to your taste. Whatever you choose, a frappé must be sipped through a drinking straw. Not only is this necessary because of the bitterness of the froth, the straw is also used to repeatedly stir the coffee.
For one tall glass you’ll need:
- 2 ts instant coffee, as dark roasted as possible
- cold water
- ice cubes
- sugar, 2 or 4 teaspoons *)
- evaporated, full fat milk
The frappé can be made directly in the glass, which is the simplest if you have an electric drink mixer, or in some kind of shaker – any high container with a lid is fine.
Whip/shake coffee, sugar if you like, and a little of the water until a really thick froth is formed. Fill your glass with ice cubes. (If you used a shaker, now is the time to pour the frothy coffee over the ice.) Fill up with water. Top up with a splash of milk if using.
The amount of sugar is entirely up to you. In Greece, you can order your frappé in these varietys:
- Sket0: No sugar
- Metrio: 2 ts sugar
- Glyko: 4 ts sugar
- If you add “me gala” to your order, you’ll be served a milky frappé.
So: Ena frappé, sketo me gala, parakalo! (One frappé, unsweetened, with milk, please!)