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What is the national drink of Cyprus

The National Drink of Cyprus

Cyprus, the sun-soaked Mediterranean island known for its rich history and vibrant culture, is home to a unique and potent national drink called Zivania. This strong spirit holds a special place in the hearts and glasses of the Cypriot people and is an integral part of the island’s cultural and culinary heritage.

Zivania: A Strong Tradition

Zivania, also known as “Zivana” or “Zivino,” is a clear, high-proof alcoholic drink that has been produced on the island of Cyprus for centuries. It is often referred to as Cyprus’s national spirit, and its production and consumption are deeply rooted in Cypriot tradition.

Ingredients and Production

Zivania is primarily made from the distillation of grape pomace, which is the solid remains of grapes after they have been crushed and pressed for winemaking. The pomace consists of grape skins, stems, and seeds, and it is the base material for many traditional European spirits.

Here’s a simplified overview of the Zivania production process:

  1. Fermentation: After the grapes are pressed to make wine, the leftover pomace is collected. This pomace is then fermented to extract alcohol from the remaining sugars.
  2. Distillation: The fermented pomace is heated in a specialized still to separate the alcohol from the liquid. The alcohol vapor is collected and condensed into a high-proof liquid, resulting in Zivania.
  3. Flavoring: While the primary ingredient in Zivania is grape pomace, some variations may include additional flavorings or infusions, such as herbs or spices, to give the spirit a unique character.
  4. Aging (Optional): Zivania is typically consumed shortly after production, but some variations may be aged in wooden barrels to develop a smoother and more refined taste.

Characteristics of Zivania

Zivania is known for its strong and fiery nature. It typically has an alcohol content ranging from 40% to 45% ABV (alcohol by volume), making it one of the strongest alcoholic beverages in Cyprus. When served, it is often enjoyed as a shot or aperitif, and it’s customary to savor it slowly to appreciate its robust flavor.

The taste of Zivania can vary depending on the quality of the grapes used, the distillation process, and any added flavorings. However, it is generally characterized by its strong and somewhat harsh alcohol burn, with subtle grape and fruity notes. The clear, crystal-like appearance of Zivania reflects its purity and clarity.

Cultural Significance

Zivania is more than just a drink in Cyprus; it’s a symbol of tradition, hospitality, and local pride. It is often served during special occasions, celebrations, and gatherings, where it is shared among friends and family as a gesture of camaraderie and warm hospitality.

In addition to being enjoyed as a drink, Zivania is sometimes used for medicinal purposes in Cyprus. It’s believed to have healing properties, especially when consumed in moderation, and is often cited as a remedy for various ailments.

Conclusion

Zivania, with its potent character and deep cultural roots, is undeniably the national drink of Cyprus. It’s a testament to the island’s rich winemaking heritage and a symbol of the warm and welcoming spirit of its people. When visiting Cyprus, sampling Zivania is not just an opportunity to savor a unique spirit; it’s a chance to partake in the island’s time-honored traditions and connect with its rich cultural heritage. Cheers to Cyprus and its beloved national drink, Zivania!