Last Monday, Orthodox Easter Monday, was D-Day for Distilling. The (rather pong-y) mandora juice was wheeled to the still, pumped into it, and boiled. To the mix was added the failed wine from last year's raisinated grapes, and some other less-successful bottles. Three and a half to four hours later, the first distillate dripped out of the tube at the bottom of the plastic cooling barrel. It measured 70% alcohol at first, but quickly dropped to 60% then 55%, then stabilised at 40%, and Best Beloved distilled in total 15 litres – 5 litres at 50% alcohol, 5 at 40%, and 5 which are a mix of the inital and final distillate and will be added to the next batch.
Easter Monday being a red-letter day for feasting and games in the Cypriot calendar, a goodly collection of male family members and friends were gathered at our house and Bill's, and our garage quickly became a focal point. Small glasses were passed around, sniffed at appreciatively, and sipped. It was rough, but not as rough as some of the zivania that does the rounds, and it had a definite undertone of citrus – fruity but with a bitter tang from the pith and peel.