Ouzo, and others, remain exclusively Greek

The battle over what basic ingredient constitutes "true" vodka is temporarily solved, pending a final vote by the European Union Parliament in March. But Greek producers of the spirts known as ouzo, tsipouro, tsikoudia and Zivania can relax: They remain exclusively Greek.

"Now these drinks have their competitiveness protected, both within the European Union and toward third countries," said a statement from Greece's Agriculture Ministry. "Following particularly difficult negotiations, the designations of origin have been secured."

The spirit Zivania is made on the island of Cyprus. The three other spirits are made in various parts of Greece.

Ouzo, which has a distinctive taste of licorice, is made from the distilled residue of grapes, with anise and herbal flavoring added during production. The drink turns cloudy when water is added, and is similar in strength to vodka at about 80%. Tsipouro and tsikoudia are variants of ouzo, often without anise flavoring. Zivania also is made from grape residue but is stronger than the mainland products. Ouzo is by far the most popular of the four, at home and abroad.

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