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FWX NEED SUPPLY STELLAS MASTIHA COCKTAILS 9
Credit: Courtesy of Need Supply

The piece originally appeared on Needsupply.com.

Mastic, or masticha (from the Greek mastichon, “to chew”) is a hardened plant resin secreted by the Pistacia lentiscus shrub. Though the harvesting of mastic resin is nearly ubiquitous across the Mediterranean region, the variety cultivated exclusively on the island of Chios is coveted for its gummy texture and sweet flavor. Mastic’s many uses range from the stabilizing of paint and varnish mixtures, to baking, tire making, and a broad range of medicinal applications. In particular, mastic was used as one of the earliest forms of chewing gum, at once improving dental health, freshening breath, and acting as a mild caffeine-like stimulant.

The veritable wonder resin has been distilled into alcoholic spirits, called mastiha, since around 600 BC, providing a refreshingly sweet, light taste with an aromatic woodiness (with notes of tree bark) and a nutty finish. We recently paid a visit to our good friends at Stella’s in Richmond to get the low-down on mastic and sample some of their refreshing Mastiha-based cocktails.

Mastic Mule
Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Mastiha liqueur
  • 1 oz. Herbes de Provence syrup (or any simple syrup infused with herbs)
  • Squeeze of lime

Top with splash of hard cider
Pour first four ingredients over ice in a copper mug, stir, and top with hard cider. Garnish with lime.

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Bright White
Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Mastiha liqueur
  • 3 oz. club soda
  • Squeeze of half lemon

Pour all ingredients over ice and stir. Garnish with lemon wheel.

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Onassis
Ingredients:

  • 5-6 springs of fresh mint
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/2 lime
  • 3 oz. champagne (or sparkling wine)
  • 1/2 oz. Mastiha liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. rum

Muddle fresh mint, syrup, and lime in glass. Pour in shaker with Mastiha, champagne, rum, and ice. Garnish with lime.

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While mastic was one of the most valuable commodities during the Ottoman rule Mediterranean, both mastic and mastiha aren’t hard to find if you look in the right places. Crystalized mastic for chewing and baking can be found at your local international grocer, and mastiha liquors such as Skinos can be special ordered from most liquor stores. Now go find some Mastiha, mix up one of these refreshing beverages, and pretend you’re gazing at the Mediterranean Sea with the sun on your face. Opa!

Recipes and hospitality c/o Stella’s Richmond.