Cypriot beverages

Drinks In Cyprus

Cyprus is famous for the variety of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks.

Ayran & Triantafyllo

Ayran is a cold yogurt beverage mixed with salt.  Its recipe varies from region to region and is an acquired taste for Westerner’s due to its salty taste.

Triantafyllo is a thick concentrated dark pink syrup made from the extract of the Cyprus rose and has water or milk added to it to make a refreshing sweet cordial, especially in summer.

Rodostagma (rose water) and anthonero (orange water), are distilled clear liquids are used to sweeten puddings such as mahallepi and sweetmeats such as nougat and baklava.

Cyprus Wines

Cyprus has a long history of wine making thanks mainly to its period of rule under French Crusaders between the 12th and 15th centuries. But even earlier, wine was made in the Bronze Age (2500–2000 BC) near the village of Pyrgos, where archaeologists have discovered an olive press and a winery, along with wine containers and even the seeds of grapes.

During the Ottoman occupation of Cyprus wine production went into decline, due to Islamic tradition and heavy taxation.

However, from 1878 with the handover of Cyprus from Ottoman rule to the British Empire there was a wine making revival. The first wave of expansion of the local Cyprus wine industry coincided with the advent of the phylloxera epidemic that affected mainland Europe. Cyprus remained unaffected as an island and along with strict quarantine controls managed to remain free of phylloxera. Demand for Cyprus grapes and wines coupled resulted in a mini winemaking boom.

Today the bulk of Cypriot wine is produced in the Limassol and Paphos districts by four large wineries. By far the most famous variety is the amber-coloured sweet dessert wine Commandaria, an ancient wine style documented in Cyprus back to the crusades and which is famous for being the world's oldest named wine still in production.

In 2007 an Appellation of Origin was launched in Cyprus, these include:

Cyprus Table Wine

This is similar to the Vin de Table in France. 85% of the grapes used in the production of table wines must be from vineyards more than four years old. Currently, there are four designated areas: Lefkosia, Lemesos, Larnaca and Paphos.

Protected Designation of Origin

O.E.O.Π. - Οίνοι Ελεγχόμενης Ονομασίας Προέλευσης - is the most prestigious designation and is modelled on the French Appellation d'origine contrôlée. These wines must originate from registered vineyards of an altitude above 600 or 750 meters depending on location. The vines should be more than five years old and yield is restricted to 36 or 45 hl per hectare depending on grape variety. Further regulations dictate the grape composition and ageing process.

A whole range of reds, whites and rosé wines varying from very dry to very sweet, can be experienced on the seven Cyprus wine routes mapped out by by the Cyprus Tourist Board. Most wineries have tastings, and you can learn all you need to know about Cypriot wine at the Lemesos Wine Museum.

Cyprus Ouzo

The famous anise-flavoured (licorice) ouzo, produced by distilling grape juice and which is also made in Greece, is a popular aperitif, drunk neat and ice cold, or with water and/or ice 50/50 which creates a cloudy appearance.


Zivania is distilled from grape skins and Cyprus grape varieties of Xynisteri and Mavro. Zivania is characterized by its taste and aroma. It is colourless with a light aroma of raisins while its alcohol content varies - 45% by volume is the typical value.

Other Cypriot beverages include:

Cyprus Brandy

Cypriot brandy was first distilled in 1871 following the importation of a pot still from Cognac in 1868. Cyprus Brandy is commonly drunk with meze dishes, and also forms the base for the famous brandy sour cocktail, developed on the island in the late 1930s.

Cyprus Beer

KEO is the famous local beer. The KEO Brewery was the first to be built in Cyprus, it produces a light straw-coloured lager with a thick head, and is sometimes compared to a pilsner in taste. Production of KEO Beer started in 1951. The original brewery had a small production capacity of about 300,000 gallons a year, today it produces over 650,000 gallons each month.

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