Best drinks for your self-catering holiday to Cyprus
Staying in a Cypriot villa with a private pool while sipping a cocktail is a dream come true, and one which you can realise by choosing a self-catering holiday. Choosing to rent a villa in Cyprus means that you can enjoy Cyprus’ best drinks the way the Cypriots do – from the comfort of a warm, sunny terrace. Prepare for your holiday indulgence with our list of Cyprus’ best alcoholic drinks.
Cyprus is most famous for its brandy sour, said to have been created in the 1930s as a secretive way for King Farouk of Egypt to enjoy an alcoholic drink without drawing attention. The drink was disguised as iced tea and the recipe quickly spread from the Troodos mountains to coastal resorts in Paphos and beyond.
To make a traditional Cypriot brandy sour, mix together locally distilled brandy, fresh lemons (or lemon squash) and a few drops of Angostura bitters to taste. Add ice to a highball glass and pour the brandy mixture over the top before topping up with soda water or lemonade if you prefer a sweeter drink. Test out your cocktail skills during your self-catering Cyprus holiday and you’ll soon perfect your very own version of a Cypriot brandy sour. Return home with the ideal gift for your friends – a bottle of Cypriot brandy followed by a cocktail masterclass taught by yours truly.
Your first taste of the island’s lovingly nicknamed ‘firewater’ isn’t easily forgotten! Zivania is a strong local spirit which is made by distilling the grape skin and pulp that’s left over from making white and red wine. The spirit is best served as a chilled shot before a meal, so treat yourself to a shot at your rented villa before leaving for an evening of meze dishes.
Fans of sweet wine will love Cyprus’ commandaria. This dessert wine is made from local red and white grapes which are picked late in the harvest cycle and left to dry in the sun to enhance their sweetness. The wine is thought to have been produced since 800 BC, so it’s certainly stood the test of time. Indulge in a late-night glass of lightly chilled commandaria accompanied by a platter of cheese and fresh fruit for the ultimate taste of Cyprus.
Beer in Cyprus
KEO beer is described as “the taste of Cyprus”, and as the most popular Cypriot beer on the island it’s an essential stop on any tour of the island’s best alcoholic drinks. The beer is golden in colour and is the only beer brewed in Cyprus that’s bottled unpasteurised. This means that KEO can protect the naturally wonderful taste and aroma of their distinct beer.
Save your wallet from the high prices of hotel bars by taking a self-catering holiday and picking up some local beers from the supermarket to enjoy in your villa. Plus, if you leave some bottles to chill in the fridge of your holiday rental then you’ll have an ice cold lager to return to after a day of island exploration.
By Shaun Fraser, a former drinks rep, who now focuses on writing about his favourite tipples from Europe and beyond. He credits his good nose to a previous life as a sommelier.