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January 16, 2003

Ouzo and Metaxa:  Do They Really Do That?

Metaxa, Ouzo, with Amphora.

Metaxa, since 1888.
Oversized shot glass, since 292 BC.  

If you are like most Greek-Americans, you more than likely have at least one bottle of ouzo and/or one bottle of Metaxa in your house somewhere. If you were smart, you got it on a visit from Greece with a favorable exchange rate, so the price came down to something ridiculous like $4 a bottle. But now it is several years later, and you have one or both of these bottles and you don't know what to do with them. Let's face it, both ouzo and Metaxa aren't your everyday sort of liquors. They don't mix well with anything (When's the last time you went into a club and asked for an ouzo and tonic or a Metaxa and Coke?), they're too strong to be drunk on weekdays, and not too many of your friends, Greek or non-Greek, enjoy the taste of either, especially ouzo. (Your Greek friends may drink ouzo because they think it is some sort of national rite of passage that'll put hair on your chest, not like Greeks need any more hair on their chests.) In fact you've probably seen more Metaxa go into your mom's pastries at Christmas and Easter than into anyone's glasses. 

So if you need more room in your liquor cabinet for your more high-traffic liquors, but don't feel like sending these two national symbols down the drain or sending yourself to the emergency room by taking it all down in one sitting, here are some ideas of how you can use either ouzo or Metaxa for practical uses. 

De-adhesive.  Trying to remove the "Dukakis 1988" bumper sticker from your theo's 1978 Oldsmobile to increase its tax deduction value when a local charity comes to tow it away? Brush Metaxa along the edges of the bumper sticker to remove it without any sticky residue while saving the bumper sticker. If you want to get rid of the bumper sticker altogether, ouzo will disintegrate it and take off half your bumper with it. 

Teething baby.  Dip the moro's pacifier in a solution of Metaxa and honey. The pain goes away quicker than you can say, "Future Greek Alcoholic." Replace the honey with gravy for use on barking dogs. For larger dogs, add ouzo.

Eye makeup remover.  Apply ouzo with a cotton ball over eyelid. (Whoops, did we say "eye makeup remover. We meant eye remover.) 

Make it stop!  I don't want another drink!

Hey, how 'bout another round?

Slow running car.  C'mon, you've all seen the bumper stickers, "Put a little ouzo in your tank," "Ouzo Power," etc. There's got to be some truth to those, right? With gas prices on the rise, our dependence on foreign oil could be easily replaced with our dependence on high-octane foreign ouzo. (Sorry, we're not sure if anyone was following the news last week, but there was a story that syndicated columnist and fellow Greek-American, Arianna Huffington, is spearheading a campaign against SUVs because their hungry engines use way too much gas, increasing our need to acquire oil from Middle Eastern countries that support terrorism. Try convincing millions of SUV owners that their American-as-Apple-Pie Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer, or Chevy Trailblazer is helping fund terrorism. Arianna might be the one needing a little Metaxa after reading all the fan mail she'll be receiving from angry patriotic SUV owners.)

Squeaky door.  Tired of waking up your parents, roommate, spouse, etc. when returning at 4:00 A.M. from a Greek Night? Try a little Metaxa on the door jam and instantly the noise is gone. It even makes your garage doors whisper quiet. If you don't want your clothes smelling like smoke so you don't give away that you were at Greek Night, douse them in ouzo, and you'll be in the clear. (Oh right...)

Back-hair remover.  While drinking ouzo will put hair on your chest, spraying it on your back will remove unsightly hair. 

Federal Investigation.  While paper shredders are expensive, a good old fashioned Metaxa-fueled trashcan fire can have you evidence-free in minutes, and it leaves your trashcan with a warm inviting smell so no one will ever suspect any wrong doing took place. 

Sunburn.  Ever get sunburned before a big date and wish there was something you could do to make the redness and radiating heat less noticeable? It's ouzo or Metaxa to the rescue! Wait, don't go doing something stupid like putting either substance on yourself. (That'll burn you worse than a fall festival gyro prepared by an all-guy crew during a Redskins broadcast.) Give your date several shots of either ouzo or Metaxa until they're too drunk to notice that you're all red and hope that they can't notice how toasted you are because they are toasted in a different way. 

Slow internet connection.  Call your ISP. Ouzo and Metaxa can't fix everything.

Ok, so there you have it, a virtual encyclopedia of great uses for ouzo and Metaxa besides drinking it yourself. If you still feel that the best place for your excess ouzo and Metaxa is down the drain, at least pour it down one that's already clogged-- it'll clear that right up. 


Read past feature articles