Zivania is a very strong, domestic made spirit often referred to as fire water! It is made from the left-overs after wine making is finished.
The kazan, a copper pot, is filled with a fermented mess of grape remains and water. A fire is made and the pot is placed on top. A condenser is attached to the kazan with tubes and in turn the tubes lead to a bottle. The water in the condenser is continually replaced to keep it cool, a bucketful out and another in. The resulting alcohol falls into the waiting bottle. It is very slow process, but in eight hours time what was originally a ton of grapes is now several bottles of Zivania. When the mixture inside begins to dty it is removed, and the goats get the remnants of the remainf for dessert!
The Zivania is ryun through the still again to remove impurities. With grapes or potatoes the result is almost pure alchol and quite tasteless. To add a flavour Cypriots add such things as basil and fig seeds. The old village custom is to down a gulp on cold mornings, or enjoy a small measure with meal. It is also used to soothe muscular aches and pains and even as a cleaning agent. However, there is always some available in the home to demonstrate the strength of "Cyprus Whisky" to visitors from aberoad.
Albrecht, M. (1994), Turkish Cypriot and Mediterranean Cookery, Havellia Publishing, London.
Salaman, R., (1991), The Cooking of Greece and Turkey, Sainsbury Cookbooks, London.