Sitting at a seaside restaurant on the island of Mykonos, Effie Panagopoulos was struck with inspiration. “Everyone around me was doing shots of Mastiha. That was my eureka moment,” she says. Ten years later, the entrepreneur—the first Greek woman to launch her own spirit brand—can boast the hot spots where her premium Mastiha liqueur, Kleos (drinkkleos.com), is poured: The Hawthorne in Kenmore Square and backbar in Union Square, among others.
Kleos may be a newcomer on the Boston spirit scene, but its central ingredient, Mastiha, has been enjoyed since ancient times for its healing properties. Mastiha is a sap secreted by the Skinos tree, which only grows on the southern part of the Greek island of Chios. Panagopoulos sources this rare ingredient from the Chios Mastiha Growers Association, and enjoys Protected Designation of Origin status from the EU as a result.
The mellow alcohol-by-volume ratio of Kleos, just 30 percent, makes it a versatile cocktail ingredient, and its low sugar content allows it to be enjoyed on its own. Panagopoulos’ tasty tip? Serve it over ice with a slice of lemon.