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September 2014
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METAXA – MORE THAN A BRANDY

metaxa1

Hailing from Greece, this is truly a unique spirit – a blend of brandy and wine – produced from three varietes of grapes, Savatino, Sultanina and Black Corinth. These are blended with aged muscat wines from Samos and Lemnos. Then its aged for a minimum of 3 years before being flavored with a secret mix of herbs including rose leaves and distilled water. The mix is then allowed to marry for a least 6 months and is then chilled at -6C for 48 hrs and after that finally filtrered before bottled. The final product has a very complex and unique aromatic character that has aromas of pepper and roses, bay leaf, cinnamon and nutmeg, aromatic and spicy indeed and at the same time its very smooth.

Metaxa was invented by Spyros Metaxas in 1888, from the Attica region -  the province of Athens, and who wanted to make a drink that conqered the world and it has actually even survived the 2 world wars and was the first alcoholic drink consumed in space. Now its exported all over the world and is among the top 50 spirits brands in the world. So conquered the world his drink did indeed!

By just reading these taste descriptions before i tried it i could almost feel the spiciness and i wasn`t dissappointed. Its rich, smooth, warm, spicy and earthy with undertones of citrus and something i cannot put my finger on what it may be – but its very pleasant. I was also quite astonished to discover that some drinks brought out a hint of a sort of slight medical aftertaste while others didn`t. Its surely a very intriguing spirit and certainly this is more than a brandy, it sits somewhere between a brandy and a liqueur.

The one Metaxa i can find here i is the 5 star and as far as i understand from what i hear its quite different from the 7 star which everybody from the US used during the Metaxa TDN. The 5 star is a dark honey color, woody with a light fruit taste, aged in oak for 5 years. Its rich, smooth and mellow and as i described above. The 7 star is  even smoother as its aged longer and therefore i wonder if the 5 star isn`t a bit better suited for mixed cocktails. Its nice too on its own though with some ice.

There`s also the Private Reserve, which includes some very old distillations – roughly some 50 years old  and is said to have marvellous aromatic flavours of  cocoa, vanilla, wood, pepper and dried fruits. Fullbodied and meant to sip like you sip a fine cognac.

Further we have also the 12 year which contrary to the others do not contain any muscat wine and is more tasting like a whisky with a smoky flavour profile and with more burn. Dry, rich, but sharper than the rest, with perfumes balancing well with the fruit, wood and spices. There are also released a 15 year old “Grand Fine” and a few other exclusive anniversary bottlings such as Metaxa Centenary, Rhodes, Golden Reserve, Grand Olympian and Golden Age.

I myself wouldn`t mind laying my hands on a Metaxa Centenary Private Reserve which comes in a beautiful ceramic bottle shaped like a greek amphora and plaited with 18k gold.This bottle was launched for celebrating 100 years of success (1888-1988) and is now a unique collectors item. The content in this beautiful bottle is Metaxas oldest distillates.

metaxa-tdn

So the TDN was a always pretty crowded with all manner of cocktail related folks in the Mixoloseum chat room, and there were the SF crew too, all gathered in Erik`s house doing their best to wreck his homebar. The winning cocktail for this TDN will receive a Bitters Blueberry courtesy of Greg Boehm from Mud Puddle and it will also enter the Imbibe Ultimate Metaxa Cocktail Contest.

As always, there was an array of cocktails made and fun it was! (it always is) All the cocktail recipes you can find at twitter – Mixoloseum. Naturally Metaxa mixes very well with lemon but i also used lime in one of my recipes, it also goes well with honey.

Here are my drinks for the night:

ATTICA STAR

metaxa-attica-star

1.5 oz Metaxa
0.5 oz Tequila blanco
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz honeymix (1:1honey and water)
1:1 Sweppes lemon and Fevertree bitter lemon to top.

Shake, strain into chilled cocktail glass.Top with 1:1 Fevertree bitter lemon and  Schweppes lemon.Garnish lime twist.

This drink really was tasty and i was surprised as to how well Metaxa mixes with certain (or many) ingredients, this drink i had only one of during the evening as i had so many other tasty drinks  but i could have drunk buckloads of it. One of my rare lucks i guess, and it seems to me like Metaxa goes well with my preferred type of drinks (the fruity-spicy ones)

METAXA SMASH

metaxa-smash

1 oz Metaxa
1 oz Gin (Beefeater)
5-6 Thai sweet-basil leaves for the muddle and a bunch of sprigs for the garnish
0.5 oz honey-mix (1.1 honey and water)
Sprinkle of fresh lemon
Top with Ting or a grapefruit or lemon soda.

Muddle basil, lemonjuice and honeysyrup in glass, add ice, Metaxa and gin. Stir.
Top with Ting or a grapefruit or lemon soda. Garnish with a veritable forest of fresh Thai sweet-basil.

As the muddled basil leaves are still in the glass its no good idea to use a straw but dip your nose deep into the Thai basil garnish and let it attack your senses. This drink is really refreshing and it was way much tastier than i first expected, enjoy! (if you like basil)

SIESTA

metaxa-siesta

2.5 oz Metaxa
0.75 oz Aperol
Top with Prosecco, garnish lemon wedge. Rocks glass. Very simple and Metaxa works well with both Aperol and Prosecco, in fact i have found that it works well with a lot of things.

GOLDEN SUN

metaxa-golden-sun

2 oz Metaxa
Sprinkle of lemon
Absinthe rinse
Top with Sanpellegrino Limonata. Garnish lemon twist. Rocks glass.

Rinse the glass with absinthe and fill with cracked ice. Add Metaxa and a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice, stir. Top with some Sanpellegrino limonata or other lemon soda. Garnish with a lemon twist.

First i didn`t know what to mix this with but through all my experimenting during this Metaxa TDN i have found out one thing, and that is that it definetily mixes well with many ingredients as well as being very tasty neat. Its now a part of my drink mixing arsenal. Actually i wonder how come i haven´t tried it before? it was a pity i was a bit underage when i was in Greece.

metaxa-logo-1

21 comments to METAXA – MORE THAN A BRANDY

  • bigee5639

    I bought a Metaxa 7 star when visiting Greece but have never tried to mix with it, i`m going to try these cocktails, they look very tasty. I really enjoy Metaxa`s musky flavor.The 5 star i haven`t tried though and maybe its as you wrote better to mix with than the 7 star.Seems like i need to get myself a bottle of it!

  • Tiare

    I haven`t tried the 7* myself but from what i`ve hear the 5* is much tastier with more of a spicy character and raisin-like flavors and is better suited for drink mixing. I would recommend you get a bottle of it and try it out.

    Cheers!

    T

  • Ellen Childers

    I bought a bottle of the Metaxa Centenary Private Reserve in the Cobalt Blue Bottle with the gold trim in 1994 and have just been saving it. Does anyone know what it is worth. I know that it is a collector’s item. I have been waiting on a really special occasion to open it.

  • doug scott

    A popular shooter in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada a few years ago was the” Nish Kalishka”. There is a large Ukrainian population there and perhaps this is where the name came from. I have no idea what if anything it means. Anyway, you take a slice of orange and put a thin line of sugar on one end of the orange and a thin line of instant coffee on the other end.You then put the orange in your mouth ( do not eat the peel) and swish it around but do not swallow. Then take a 1-1/2 oz. shot of metaxa and shoot it all back . Believe it or not it is quite good.

  • Tiare

    Ellen, i have no clue what its worth but the bottle is really beautiful!

    Doug, it sounds like an interesting shot, worth a try? yes!

  • Christian Ritchie

    Hi Ellen,
    I bid for a bottle of the Metaxa Centenary about 6 months ago on Langton’s (www.langtons.com.au), my bid price was $350, the winning bid was $355. Metaxa has just released a 120th anniversary brandy and it is selling in Greece duty free for 810 Euros, so I think the Centenary could fetch a lot more than $355 now. I have tasted the centenary and it was great, wish I could justify the 810 Euros for the 120th anniversary bottle.

  • mare

    I just got a bottle (half gone) of Metaxa Dry Grande Fine Metaxa 50 years old. Is this any good?

  • [...] METAXA – MORE THAN A BRANDY | A Mountain Of Crushed Ice [...]

  • marcus

    yo guys.. thanks for the info never tried metaxa but i think i will buy a 7 star amd try a mixed drink. i do own a few centenary editions as i found the bottle beautiful… i will never open it.
    if ur interested in buying one i could maybe help u out …
    add me on msn marcus_smithwick@hotmail.com

  • Charlotte

    how did you make a perfect lemon twist, i never can do it. Whats the trick?

  • Marcus, i would rather try the 5 Star in a mixed drink, i`cve heard quite a few say the 7 star isn`t that good. I haven`t tried it myself though, but the 5 star is really good.

    Charlotte, this is how to do it and its simple: Use one of those plastic wide veggie peelers and peel off a piece (about 3 inch or 7.5 cm) Then lay it flat on the cutting board and with a sharp knife cut it clean on all sides. Then i wrap it around my smallest finger and place it in my freezer for about 10 min. When it comes out it holds the shape for a while. You can also place it wrapped and secured with a toothpick in a glass of ice water.

    Good luck!

    T

  • Dear readers,
    I have here a box with a blueish gold plated bottle inside. Any idea for how much I can sell that? Of course with the original content. I would appreciate it very much when I can read some responses in my email box for which I am very grateful if you take the time and iffort to response. walterduyvis@gmail.com

    Kind regards, Walter Duyvis

  • Walter, i have no idea, but i would go to EBay and see what others sells it for. Then to online spirit shops to see what a new would cost. Just a thought.

  • ron

    Hi I just purchased 2 ceramic bottles of metaxa at a yard sale for $5 and they are both unopened it says they are 5 star the bottles are of a greek man and women in traditional dress and are both aprox 45 cms high are these rare.Thanks Ron

  • Dear Tiara and Ron,

    Thank you both for your replies, my bottle is a Metaxa Centenary in a hand made porcelain greek replica vase with 18 k gold. I am living in Amsterdam and still want to sell it (walterduyvis@gmail.com) so, hehe, who is interested?And I only see just now Tiara’s reply, good idea, althouh I tried to sell it on a Dutch online selling site, but it isn’t allowed to sell alcoholic drinks on that site. Now I’m going to try the Ebay site…will be continued…

  • Drew Adamson

    I happen to have a decanter of Centenary Special Rserve, stil in the presentation box, given to me by John Costopolous, MD of Metaxa back in the nineties, in appreciation of some work I did for him when I was employed by IDV, now part of Daigeo, which owned Metaxa. I have a letter from him as provenance of this. Would anyone be willing to make me an offer for this, starting at £750.00?

  • cesar

    i have a METAXA CENTENARY mint condition!! for futher info send me an e-mail. for sale.

  • cesar

    @ceesholeeder@live.nl

  • Walter Duyvis

    Dear readers,

    Have the Metaxa gold plated bottle with contents for sale….anyone interested?

    Kind regards, Walter Duyvis walterduyvis@gmail.com +31654 703000 is my phonenumer in Amsterdam the Netherlands.

  • James P. Tatooles

    I have two bottles of Metaxa Brandy Grand Fine unopened, 50 years old when bottled, and purchased by my parents in the early 1960′s in Greece making them
    over 100 years old.

    I am willing to sell them.

    Any reasonable offer will be considered.

    James P. Tatooles

  • Luke

    I was told by a greek waiter in corfu to never buy anything above 5 star, anything higher was lacking in taste.

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