Tsikoudia is the predominant alcohol drink produced and consumed by the locals. This drink is also known as Raki and is made from the left over distilled wine. Tsikoudia alcohol precentage varies a bit, usual average is 20%-45%. It has a grapey taste and is usually served with some “meze” (accompaniments) like hard cheese, olives, cucumber or cold cuts.

Tsikoudia usually is a “goodbye gift” from many restaurants, that serve it along with dessert or fruit right after you ask for the bill. Not every restaurant follows this tradition, but the trend tends to expand.

Tsikoudia production is strictly controlled by alcohol taxing laws, who permit production for a single 48-hour period each year, for which authorities issue licenses for distilleries operation.

If you happen to fall within the period (August – September – October) and you are into local fiestas, try to visit a “rakokazano” which is local a tsikoudia distillery. This could be an experience to remember. Arrange for returning to hotel beforehand. Usually “rakokazano”‘s are located away from tourist vacances, deep into the mainland near vineyards. Due to the nature of the event, tsikoudia production escalates to a fiesta, where freshly produced raki is tested, between feasts of unpeeled oven potatoes with oliveoil or lemon and salt, lamb meat and wine. You are not expected to be sober after visiting one of those, but usually a local has to invite you along (and drive you home afterwards).

Although not as popular as in the mainland or the North Aegean islands Cretans also enjoy drinking Ouzo which is an alcoholic drink made by distillation of grapes. It looks milky when water is poured in and mixed with, but it doesn’t contain milk or derivates of milk! During the distilling process it is made with ginger, cinamon, aromatic seeds, plants, and fruits which give it a distinct taste.

Apart from local spirits, a great variety of wines are produced locally and sometimes from local ancient grape cultivars, and can escort supper or dinner. Most restaurants would serve varieties of local wines or even restaurant’s owners own production as “barrel wine”.

Youth can enjoy their booze at dancing bars, which are open till late along the coast line near tourist places, like in Malia and Hersonissos (30km from Iraklion) or Platanias (25km from Chania)