Greece is well-known for its wine, ouzo, tsipouro etc, but how many Greek liqueurs have you tried? Brettos Bar is the Athenian centre of liqueurs, hidden in plain sight in the most touristic and well-trodden part of the city – Plaka. To be perfectly honest though, this bar and its shelves full of bottles full of thick, illuminated, colourful alcoholic liquids is virtually impossible to miss, even if you drop a single glance through its large windowfront overlooking busy, stone-paved Kydathinaion St.
This tiny place really inspires the old spirit of Athens which a lot of people are returning to lately: barrels, old marble or wooden tables, ancient beer ads lining the walls… Don’t expect a lot of breathing space here; if you visit Brettos you should be prepared to huddle up with a crowd equal parts tourists and locals, and perhaps to sit behind a counter, where at first glance one would be excused to think it’s not allowed to sit.
It’s all worth it though, even if you, unlike me, don’t enjoy being confined in such tight spaces: Brettos isn’t just a bar, it’s a distillery–it has been one since 1909, making it the city’s oldest–and a great part of its selection is domestically produced.
So what will it be? Watermelon? Caramel -which is the one I tried- or raspberry? Cocoa? Perhaps something more traditional; rose, cinnamon, kumquat, masticha? If it’s doable, Brettos has it, and they’ve really made me think it’s possible to make a liqueur out of anything!