Located in Heraklion, Crete’s largest city, Stamataki Brothers Distillery is the island’s most well known distiller of the Cretan spirit known locally as Tsikoudia. Kretaraki Tsikoudia is a grape distillate made from a blend of Cretan grape varieties:
25% Grenache Rouge
After harvest, the grapes are destemmed and gently pressed. Fermentation then takes place in chilled stainless steel tanks. Once fermentation is complete, the skins of the fermented grapes are sent to copper pot stills where distillation begins. The heads and the tails are separated from the “heart” of the distillation and are discarded. At the end of the process, the alcohol content of the “hearts” is in the range of 60-65% ABV. The distillate is then left to stabilize for two months in stainless steel tanks. Once stabilization is complete, the distillate is then chilled to -12C for two more weeks. Upon completion of the chilling stage, the distillate is then filtered through paper filters and then mixed with distilled water to reach a final ABV of 40%.
Kretaraki Tsikoudia is best served chilled straight up.