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Greek Islands: Chios
Drinking Souma

Souma, ChiosSouma is a traditional drink made from figs. The figs are collected in August and spread on the roofs of the mastica villages to dry. They are then collected and thrown into large barrels with water and yeast and left to ferment. Around the end of October the figs are boiled in a traditional distiller, similar to the ones they use to make ouzo or raki with a tube that brings the steam into a tank. As potent as souma is (probably about 45% alcohol) if you continue the process and distil it again you get metapsima which is even more potent. Like ouzo, souma will turn white when you add water. What ouzo is to the people of Lesvos, souma is to the people of Chios and is drunk throughout the day and at all festivals, weddings and every other social occasion.

What does souma taste like? If you like raki, or tsipuro you will love souma. If you don't know what those beverages taste like try to imagine moonshine with a very slight sweet taste. Souma is pure distilled spirits which means that it will get you high pretty quickly, get you drunk without you realizing it and probably not give you a hangover. Or maybe it will. Souma like ouzo goes better with a meze (snack) but in a stressful situation one shot of souma will relax you and allow you to face any hardship with a smile. Where can you get souma? In Chios or in Rhodes you can find it sold in unlabeled bottles. There are no souma factories and no companies producing souma. It is made by individuals. Many restaurants will have it if you ask for it and some will serve it after a meal even if you don't. The best souma I have found is sold in the square of the village of Mesta in Chios. Pick me up a bottle if you go there. Mine fell out of the fridge and broke and now my whole house smells like souma and the nearest bottle is 5000 miles away. Greece Travel Banner

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