Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Now drink a tree

    The beauty of this liqueur is its unique aroma and mild, delicious astringency, and the certain knowledge that you are ingesting a tree. Mastiha (mastica) perfectly suits after-dinner conversation without the alcoholic jolt you get from cognac, et al, being only 28 percent alcohol. Its origins are the tiny island of Chios in northern Greece, the source of the drink the lentisk tree (from which is also made considerably less glamorous chewing gum and toothpaste). Gum mastic “tears” are resinous granules that can also be ground in mortar and pestle and used in cooking. It’s traditionally cultivated in villages forming what’s known as the Mastichochoria.
    Gum mastic apparently has a salubrious effect on ulcers as well as on you. That probably means Big Pharma will buy it all up, so get some while you can, although finding it in the United States may take some doing. However, you can contact this Chios distillery directly at

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