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Naxos, Greece, is primarily an agricultural island that offers some of the best food and drink anywhere in the country. While it may not be as famous or crowded as Santorini or Mykonos, those in the know head to the island to eat and drink local specialties such as Naxian cheese & the liqueur known as Kitron.

What is Kitron?

Kitron is a distilled spirit made from the leaves of the citron tree, which grows in Naxos. Citron is a citrus fruit not dissimilar from lemon, though the fruit itself is not actually used in the drink’s distillation. The leaves are harvested during the autumn & winter months and then distilled after drying along with added sugar.

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Kitron has European Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, making it one of 3 Greek spirits to have such a designation. Kitron used to be exported, but due to the limited amount of Kitron trees in Naxos, nowadays, most of the liqueur is only sold on the island.

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Each Kitron distillery in Naxos offers three types of Kitron that vary in sugar & alcohol concentration. Vallindras Distillery (the oldest & most commonly found Kitron) makes green Kitron, which is the sweetest at 30% ABV, clear Kitron, which is in the middle ground of sweetness & strength at 33% ABV, and yellow Kitron at 36% ABV & is the strongest & driest.

Kitron can either be sipped straight, often as an aperitif, or used in cocktails. I especially enjoyed trying various Kitron cocktails when I was in Naxos.

Book your hotel in Naxos now!

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According to my tour guide on a Naxos food tour, Promponas Distillery’s Clear Kitron is 40% ABV. Their green Kitron is 30% ABV. Their yellow-orange-colored Kitron is 40% ABV but is sweeter than the clear. 

Kitron Distilleries in Naxos

There are a couple of Kitron Distilleries in Naxos. Distillery M. G. Vallindras is the oldest distillery in Naxos, & the one I visited. Promponas Distillery is a newer distillery that has also opened on the island.

Vallindras Distillery

Vallindras Distillery in Halki has been distilling Kitron since 1896.

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The distillery was started by Markos Vallindras & is still operated by the family. Vallindras Distillery is open for tours & tastings & is also part of many Naxos day trip tour itineraries, which is how I visited.

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The brief tours include the history of Kitron & Naxos, information about the distilling process, and a tasting. Nearby, there is also a cocktail bar called Kitron.

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Promponas Distillery

I was supposed to also visit the newer Promoponas Distillery in Naxos. However, the night before I was booked to go, they canceled my reservation and said there was a mistake & they were booked all week, but that I could go to their store in town for a tasting.

They also operate a shop in Naxos town called Prompona’s Citrus, where you can buy their Kitron and other products made from Naxos ingredients.

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When I asked about doing a tasting there, the woman at the counter said that tastings are done only at the distillery. Thankfully, I also visited the shop as part of a food tour, where I was then finally able to try their Kitron. I’m unsure if something got lost in translation since it seemed odd that a shop dedicated to a drink wouldn’t have some samples.

Kitron Bars in Naxos

Many bars & restaurants in Naxos offer Kitron, but some specialize in it and other local ingredients. The appropriately named Kitron has locations in Naxos Town and near the distillery in Chalkio.

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Other bars where I enjoyed Kitron include Honey & Cinnamon Cocktail Bar, Swing Cocktail Bar, and Apollon Paradise Cafe. The bars incorporate Kitron into many of their cocktails, offering a local flavor you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

For more information about these bars, read my review of the best cocktail bars in Naxos.

There are a couple of places to drink craft beer in Naxos.

Here are some great Naxos tours & activities & other things to see & do in Naxos.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Naxos, check out these hotels. For more restaurant recommendations, go here.

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