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Why does ouzo turn cloudy when water is added?

Ouzo is a beverage served around the Mediterranean. You’ll see people in Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Turkey sitting in cafes with a small glass of ouzo and a glass of water. When the water is poured into the ouzo, it goes cloudy. The more cloudy, the better the ouzo is said to be. The white stuff is a precipitate that comes out of solution when the water is added. Ouzo is made by taking neat alcohol and flavouring it with aniseed and other aromatic herbs. Many vineries in Greece make ouzo and each will be different because of the herbs added. Aniseeds and the other herbs contain numerous compounds, many of which are more soluble in alcohol than in water. Since the extraction of the flavour is done with almost pure alcohol, there are many compounds that can be forced out of solution when water is added. It makes sense that the better ouzos turn more milky, given that they contain more flavour components which had been originally extracted by the alcohol.


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