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Terra Rossa – Cyprus vodka made from Cyprus potatoes. It’s a crafted spirit unique to the island. A home-grown, natural and sustainable distillation to stand alongside traditional Cyprus drinks, Zivania, Commandaria, Filfar liqueur, even Greek Ouzo.

All well-loved Cyprus spirits of a timeless, moving bar. Time to take our senses on a journey of discovery…

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Terra Rossa Potato Vodka

Terra Rossa – it’s Italian for mineral-rich “red soil”, usually associated with the cultivation of the grape for red wine production. But here the humble potato engages our palate more directly with the earthy senses.

Think you know how a potato vodka should taste? Think again! Your taste buds will thank you. Its honey-sweet, velvet smoothness is a lingering delight. And is that the glorious notes of freshly-baked bread playing to your nose? No potato voda was so intriguing.

It’s sure to even wow you enough to think about taking your own cocktail-mixing in an exciting, new direction.

Locally sourced Cyprus potatoes

Terra Rossa is made with home-grown potaoes at Cyprus’s own Aristides Distillery. Also known for its sustainable, locally-produced, high-quality craft spirits such as Aoratos Gin, Angelica Blue Gin and seasonal FlowerPower and Berry Gins.

Terra Rossa not only brings together the enduring, powerful Cyprus ingredients of Mediterranean sunshine and a constant, cool sea breeze. It’s 40% ABV strength is also produced without filtering, charcoal or artificial flavourings added.

The eternal, authentic flavour of the island of Cyprus – to be savoured and enjoyed in today’s sustainable, premium-flavour, cocktail drinking world.


Zivania – also known as Zivana (Greek for ‘pomace’) – is a Cyprus spirit made from the traditional grape. And has been a main Cyprus spirit since at least the 15th century. Despite its light raisin fragrance, this homegrown pomace brandy is sometime dubbed “firewater” because of its 45% ABV.

Zivania is a colourless spirit is made from the distillation of both Xynisteri and Mavro grape pomace – the grape pulp left after being pressed during wine making  – together with local dry wines.

  • Xynisteri is an indigenous, white grape grown in around one in three Cyprus vineyards on the south slopes of the Troodos mountains, around 30 kms north of Limassol.
  • Mavro (Greek for ‘black’- although they’re actually blue coloured) is also an historical, indigenous Cyprus grape, cultivated for making three quarters of Cyprus wines, as well as Zivania brandy.

There are usually three types of zivania produced, depending on pre-distillation ingredients.

  • Wine only
  • Wine and pomace
  • Pomace, water and weak zivani

This fiery sweet brandy is consumed throughout the year but tends to be served ice-cold during a long hot Cyprus summer.


The white Xynisteri and Mavro blue grape are pressed to make this most well-known of amber-coloured, sweet dessert wine. Reaching ABV of around 15 – 20 %, the often overwhelming sweet, rich, caramel fragrance is the result of the wine-making process.

The grapes are picked when often overripe and high in natural sugar. A sweetness level that’s raised again during the sun-drying process lasting for one to two weeks.

After the grapes are pressed – and often fortified with grape-based alcohol – a long, slow fermentation of 2-3 months takes place, with the wine aged in oak barrels for at least two years.

Commadaria is produced high up in the fertile, slopes of south-west of Cyprus, known as “La Grande Commanderie” during the Crusades. It was in 1191 that King Richard I (the Lionheart) passed through Cyprus during the Third Crusade, on his way to the Holy Land.

His Knights settled in a part of the island they called Commandaria, which gave its name to the local wine. According to legend, King Richard’s admiration of commandaria wine led him to declare at his wedding that it

was “the wine of kings and the king of wines.” French King, Philippe Augustus is said to have called Commandaria “the Apostle of wines”.

Filfar Liqueur

Filfar is an orange liqueur sometimes called the “national” drink of Cyprus, which came into popular demand some 80 years ago.

The original Orange Liqueur is a traditional blend of sun-ripened oranges with local hillside, aromatic herbs. Giving a warm but distinctive, mellow yet tangy, golden glow to the palate.

On the nose, a potent fragrance of citrus blossom and its fruits ripening in the warm sunshine, set against cool dark, green leaves.

Filfar was revived as a more widely available liqueur by Takis Phillippou while enrolled in the British Army during the early 1940s. He took his grandmother’s recipe – said to be originally created by 13th century monks of Kantara, near Famagusta, northern Cyprus – which was passed down through the family by word-of-mouth.


Today, the original liqueur recipe is joined by Filfar Lemon, Filfar Mandarin and Filfar Bergamot.


No round-up of Cyprus spirits would be complete without mention of Ouzo, the well-known aniseed-flavoured drink.

Arguably, this high sugar drink is more popular in its homeland, Greece, which is mostly served neat without ice. However, Ouzo is also used as the spirit base for Ouzini, the on-trend Cyprus cocktail, for those long, hot summer evenings.

Ouzini was created by novelist, Michael Paraskos in 2014 as an “alternative” national drink of Cyprus to the long-standing brandy sour. The aim was to encourage Cyprus restaurants to offer more Cypriot cuisine to its customers.

It’s made with native Cypriot ingredients – the ouzo and orange juice vigorously shaken and poured into a highball glass over ice, then topped with a dash of bitters.

Author Costas Nicolaides

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