A Lesson Learned At The Caprice Bar Mykonos
It was my first night in Mykonos and I was having the time of my life.
I was in the energetic Caprice Bar and the place was jumping – a good-looking European crowd leaning against the bar, seated at the few tables and, just past the archways leading to the small patio, sitting outside looking across the water to the famous Mykonos windmills.
Fresh off the plane from America and too anxious to take the ferry, I had caught a flight from Athens in order to rush to Mykonos . I dropped the bags in my room and, at the advice of my lively hairdresser at the time who insisted I visit the Greek Islands (for which I am forever grateful, thank you Dugan!), bolted straight to Caprice Bar.
It was getting to be about sunset time and this is the most popular bar for sunset on Mykonos. I was in the right place at the right time but I was about to learn a valuable lesson about partying in Greece: don’t drink ouzo.
On the surface, you may think this is a crazy notion. It would be like not drinking beer in Germany, wine in France or tequila in Mexico. When you land at the airport in Athens, you see advertisements for ouzo everywhere – on billboards, on the taxis and especially on the luggage carts.
But things are a bit different when you travel in Greece. And one of those lessons I learned was not to drink ouzo.
First of all, it tastes terrible. It’s almost like Jagermeister but more like some type of medicine. It took a couple of doses of it and a grimacing expression prompted the bartender to kindly tell me, “you know, you should really have it mixed half with water.”
Secondly, you don’t realize how ridiculously potent it because the taste somehow masks it. But it’s potent and I soon got so blitzed I was melting into the counter of the bar.
But I was also having a blast. I was in Greece, I was in a happening bar and I was drinking in Europe, for crying out loud, for the first time in my life. There were pretty girls all around me, model-looking types dressed in chic and stylish outfits that just seemed so, well, European. They must not sell those dresses in America.
I had become fast friends with a group of people next me and one asked why the heck I was drinking ouzo. Because, I stated, it’s what I thought one was supposed to drink while in Greece.
“Heck no,” he said practically loud enough for the entire bar to hear him. “It’s terrible! We don’t drink that stuff!”
“Well then,” I inquired, as I had seen them doing shots by the shaker full, “what the heck do you do drink?
He beamed, poured me a shot from his shaker and said: “kamikazes!”
By this time, the ouzo had my eyes rolling around my sockets as if they were on a pinwheel. When I finally decided to move, I realized my legs were no longer sturdy limbs but rubbery objects likely to take me in a direction of their own choosing.
I managed to wobble to a gyro stand and somehow found my way back to my hotel. In the Greek Islands, you have to turn in your room key when you leave for the day or nite (it’s because, Dugan explained, people would get so drunk they would lose them, and I could certainly relate to that theory at this moment) and I mumbled a blur to the person behind the desk who somehow understood it as my room number to give me the key.
I collapsed onto the bed, took a couple of drunken bits of my gyro (once missing my mouth entirely and instead putting part of it into my cheek) and eventually fell asleep a complete mess.
In the morning – the late morning – I emerged to the lobby and a different person behind the desk asked of me, “you had a good night last night!?”
“Why yes, I had a lot of fun, thank you,” I replied.
“Enjoy the Caprice Bar?”
I paused for a second, wondering how did he knew where I was last night. “Why yes, I did indeed,” I responded.
He then leaned over to me, as if to ready to divulge some kind of military secret and said, “stay away from the ouzo. It’s not good for you.”
No truer words were ever spoken and I hardly had a drop the rest of the trip (and then only with a friend who arrived a few days later and insisted upon it) or any subsequent trips to Greece.
Mostly while in Greece, I drink its Mythos beer. But then again, there’s a lot of shots bartenders pour and people drink in Greece. Just stay away from the ouzo.