Drinking ouzo with a group of friends gathered around a table full of delicious mezedes, or small dishes, and sharing the latest news is a quintessential Greek experience.
The country’s nationwide lockdown, however, has pushed Greeks to re-imagine these social gatherings.
After bars and restaurants were closed shortly before Greece was put under lockdown, Haris Bekris, ouzo collector from the island of Syros, had the idea of organizing virtual gatherings for lovers of the beverage to drink the iconic Greek aperitif.
Traditionally, people went out on Sunday afternoons to local tavernas or ouzo bars to gather with the community and have lively discussions.
For this reason, Bekris proposed virtual meetings every Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m., starting December 6 and ending once the country is out of lockdown.
Ouzo, unlike other drinks, should be enjoyed in a group, according to Bekris: “Ouzo is not like other European spirits–you can’t drink it by yourself. You need to drink it in a group, and that’s why we started these virtual meetings where we can talk for about an hour,” he stated to AMNA.
Ouzo-lovers interested in joining the virtual gathering can send an email with their name, city of residence, to Bekris on his website, where he also sells hundreds of different brands of ouzo from around Greece and Cyprus.
Bekris boasts the largest ouzo collection in the world, featuring over 600 bottles from 200 different distilleries.