SeasonAbroad have travelled to Athens and we could not leave the Greek capital without visiting Brettos – the oldest distillery in Greece where the time stopped in 1909.
Visited by the Forbes, the National Herald, the Telegraph and many more, Brettos remains as it has always been – vibrant and welcoming, colorful and cozy. As we entered the premises, hundreds of colorful bottles lit from behind and stacked on 100-year old shelves set the mood for experimental tasting.
Brettos was established by Michail Brettos who produced his own ouzo, brandy and a selection of liquors, using old recipes from the ancient Greek city of Smyrna which is modern-day Turkey. Michail operated the distillery for 60 years in two locations in Athens before selling it Papadonikolakis family.
We were very fortunate to sit down with the current owner of Brettos Mrs. Arianna Papadonikolakis whose family kept the charm of the place until today. Arianna let us taste some of her favorite and best liquors they make at Brettos and also their infamous 50% alcohol Ouzo and a cocktail.
From the liquors, we tried kumquat, mastiha, coffee and our all favorite honey and cinnamon (aka Rakomelo) which is a homemade liquor – raki boiled with cinnamon and honey. Each liquor at Brettos has its story and can be drunk during certain weather and season of the year or any day.
Drinking at Brettos is like going back in history since all the recipes and the interior date back to the 19th/20thcentury. Besides 40 different flavors of liquors, one can enjoy a great selection cocktails and over 160 types of finest Greek wines by glass, without being obliged to open a bottle.
We were there not so much for a drink but for a story. And Brettos has a story of being one of the many prominent places in touristy area of Athens called Plaka which has stood the toughest times of the recent lockdowns and restrictions and re-emerged again.
Brettos has always been a home to those who need a shoulder to cry on and a company to laugh with. Brettos is a family that is always there to welcome its guests and share the piece of their history. When we spoke to Arianna, we realized that we are all going through the same now – we need a human connection. And what is a better way to connect than over a drink. And we absolutely did. Our host was most welcoming. It was about the time we spent together talking about what matters the most to people and that is truly the sense of unity and belonging.
While Arianna was sitting and chatting with us at the table, many people who were passing by waved at her and greeted her and it suddenly dawned on us that Brettos was the heart of Plaka, if not of entire Athens.
While we want all the people who travel to Athens to visit Brettos and try their amazing products, we would love to encourage you to also take time to immerse in the atmosphere of this magical place and truly embrace the moment.
Time stopped in 1909 and time is unnoticeable when you are at an Athenian treasure called Brettos – where Arianna, her beautiful team and family made us feel at home.