November 8th, 2012. Upper Darby, PA. This past Thursday evening a Tsipouro contest took place… Yes, that’s right, a Tsipouro contest. No fine wines or beers, just good old fashion Tsipouro. By the way, Philadelphia is recognized as one of the best micro-brewery cities in the world. That’s right, the world. Sorry, I had to get that plug in for thy city of brotherly love. Where was I? Oh yes… Some 7 members of the Greek community and about a dozen of their friends, filed into a small coffee house in Upper Darby, known as the Pontian Leski. As they entered, each was met and greeted by Cosmos Philly where they each proclaimed they had the best home made Tsipouro with them.
Tsipouro today is quite popular in Greek culture and preferred by many a Greeks over OUZO. Or at least, that’s what I’m told by many a Greek men. For those that don’t really know that much about Tsipouro, or for you non Greeks that are curios here it is.
Tsipouro, as officially defined by Wikipedia,(Greek: Τσίπουρο) is: a pomace brandy from Greece and in particular Thessaly (Tsipouro Tyrnavou), Epirus, Macedonia, Mani Peninsula, and the island of Crete (where Cretans call it tsikoudia). Tsipouro is a strong distilled spirit containing approximately 45 percent alcohol by volume and is produced from the pomace (the residue of the wine press). In other areas of Greece, the name raki is used from which the term rakizio or rakario is derived, used to refer to the drink’s distillation process, often the occasion for a celebration among family and friends.
While sampling the clubs mezes, the home made Tsipouro stock from each of the contestants was brought out for sampling. Each sample was only recognized by it’s number, from 1 to 7. There, judges nominated for the positions by the group, voted on clarity, taste and aroma.
What happened next? Watch the video. It’s all there as reported by Costas Xinos of Cosmos Philly.