Oct 15, 2023
While travelling through Greece you will definitely come across Mastiha (aka Masika) in one form or another. Most of the time you will be given Mastiha as a shot to sip after your meal as a digestive, but this magical resin can be used for many more things in your every day life.
Whats Is Mastiha?
Mastiha comes from the Mastic tree that is evergreen. The trees are found on the Greek island of Chios. The tree is cut and the sap that is taken from these trees is then created in to a resin which is dried.
The true mastiha tree is only found in the South of the island, as the temperature and soil in this region, are the perfect climate for the trees to thrive.
It is also known as the drops of Chios as when the resin dries, it takes the shape of a tear drop.
How is Mastiha Used?
Mastiha has 100 and 1 uses, but the main one being as an alcoholic drinks. Over the last couple of decades mastiha has made its way in to food, soaps, cosmetics, toothpaste, varnish, paint, and cream-making and health products.
Everyday the use of Mastiha is being spread across all indsutries in the world.
Whats Does Mastiha Taste Like?
The best way to describe the taste of Mastiha is, that it tastes like you are eating / drinking a Pine forest.
Its a very refreshing taste when added to drinks or desserts. When added to drinks, it adds a sweet fragrant aspect that enhances a drink to the next level.
In Greece, Mastiha alcohol percent sits at around 30%. It is made when the crystals are distilled and pure high-quality alcohol is added to the liquid that is produced.
The process of creating the spirit can be done in 2 ways: Distilling the pure crystals in the stills (which is not the easiest way as the resin will stick as they are warmed and melted down) or with the addition of mastic oil.
Over the years Mastiha has become part of the Greek drinking scene, being drunk not only as a shot after a meal but more importantly in cocktails.
As the Greek bar scene is slowly taking over the world, this humble little resin packs a bunch in many of the cocktails being developed throughout the country.
Nothing beats a chilled Gin and Tonic with a splash of Mastiha!
One of the first uses of Mastiha was as a natural chewing gum. It is said that the Ancient Greeks would chew the resin as a way to protect their teeth.
Now, the gum is still used, not only to protect teeth but also to freshen breath.
Chewing the gum has also been know to be a remedy for an upset stomach and digestive issues.
Mastiha In Food
Originally mastiha was added to bread and Greek pastries. But as it has become more popular with chefs around Greece, mastiha has been seen not only in infused Olive oils, ice creams and in alcohol but in Greek dishes such as Baked rabbit, Pan friend cheese and even cheesecakes.
The resin can also be found as a mastic powder for cooking in shops around Greece. When in Athens there is a Mastiha shop right in the city centre that sells all kinds of mastiha products.
Mastiha In Cosmetics
Mastiha has also seen its way in to the cosmetics industry. It's use in your ever day routine packs a punch with its anti inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antimicrobial properties, making it your skin's best friend.
It also helps with excess oily skin and provides you with a healthy glow. As a bonus, it's been known to act as a mini facelift, making your skin look younger and more vibrant after each use.
So when in Greece, why not try this magical resin called mastiha!