Mastic – The Greek Liqueur

There are many little known liqueurs from around the globe which have a place within the heart of their country of origin. Now’s our chance to learn from Greece and some of it’s best bartenders all about the magical Mastic, a Greek Liqueur.

Every summer the residents of the Mastic villages of Chios, known as Mastichiades, carve the branches of their trees from the Schinias region with an iron tool. What drops from these lesions is known as Mastic.

This process has been repeated in the south of Chios for the last 2500 years.  But, what is Mastic?

Mastic is the resin from the Schinias region tree, a member of the tree family which also includes Pistachio and Terebinth trees.  Resin is the hard crystal shaped tree drops from various Flion trees.  The most well known resin is frankincense and myrrh, gifts the three wise men gave to humanity, along with gold.  This indicates their great worth and value.

People in antiquity recognized these resins’ worth and used them in the making of balsams, medicines, embalming, in disinfecting and in incense burning.

Though the Schinias trees can be found throughout the Mediterranean, it is only in the south of Chios that Mastic is produced.

This is attributed to the region’s microclimate, of the selective and systematic cultivation which led to a new type of Schinias tree which is more durable and productive.  It is also due to Chios’ commercial resourcefulness from ancient times when Mastic became identified with the island.

Mastic has the title of Protected Designation of Origin and its cultivation is listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Catalogue.

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