Somada or The Drink that Makes Me Homesick

Somada (or Soumada, as it is called in other areas of Greece) is a non-alcoholic drink made with almonds and sugar.

The real version is made with some bitter almonds mixed in too, and I really think this is what makes the difference. I’ve had Somada from the Mastiha Shop before, and it really didn’t taste right at all. Bitter almonds contain hydrogen cyanide which is lethal if consumed in large enough quantities, which really is true about everything in this world. Unfortunately, in the case of bitter almonds, a couple of dozens are enough.

You don’t need that many to make Somada. I also think that heat removes it, but don’t take my word for it. If you make this at home, the easiest thing to do is use bitter almond extract, as it will be quite tricky to find bitter almonds.

The general idea is to grind the almonds into a paste, place them in muslin and soak them in water, so that the water gets all the flavour and juices. Then, you add the sugar – a silly amount of sugar, but it needs it- and boil it so it reduces down to a thick liquid.

Somada is served in a short glass mixed with cold water. You can drink it just like that, but the best bit is dipping paximadia in it:

I feel like I should have more memories of this one: It’s one of the most traditional drinks back home, but all I remember is talking about it rather than drinking it. I tried it a couple of times as a teenager and didn’t really like it, but grew to love it later on. If you get the chance to try authentic somada, give it a go, it’s brilliant. Even better if you have it in a traditional cafe.

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