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Local Cyprus Drinks - Zivania

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Information on the local Cyprus drink called Zivania

Cyprus Village Zivania Distillery                              Photo © CyprusExpat.co.uk

Zivania, or the local Cyprus firewater as it is called by many tourists, is a clear, strong alcoholic drink made from grapes. The usual strength you may purchase in the shops is around 45% by volume. It is a pure drink with no added sugar or flavours.

Zivania is unique to Cyprus, so much so, that it's manufacture is protected under European Law, therefore Zivania may only be produced in Cyprus and no other country may produce a drink with the name Zivania.

Zivania has been an important part of Cyprus culture for many centuries, going all the way back to the 14th century and the distillation process from those times has not changed, and still follows the traditional methods.

Zivania is enjoyed in small shot glasses, with the bottle served straight from the freezer, ice cold. It is accompanied with small dishes of smoked salted meats, halloumi cheese (grilled or normal), olives and pickled vegetables. There are also people who prefer to drink their Zivania accompanied just with sunflower seeds.

Zivania is also used as a digestive, with a glass or two taken after a meal.

The first drops from the distillation of Zivania are too strong to drink, so these are used for medicinal purposes, basically as an antiseptic to cleans wounds or sores. It is also used to alleviate the pain from toothache. If a person has a fever, just rubbing some of the powerful Zivania onto the body, will help sweat the fever away.

Zivania is produced in large distilleries in Cyprus, but most of the production is found in the villages, especially in the Troodos Mountains, where the traditional small distilleries are still very active. There is also a village, Kyperounta Village in the Troodos Mountains, that produces Zivania from apples!

Enjoy your Zivania, but be careful of the firewater, drink in moderation!

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