The history of Ouzo begins somewhere around the middle of the 18th century, when the art of distillation started to develop in Greece and "Tsipouro " was distilled for the first time. Tsipouro was the alcoholic extract from grapes (=stemphyla or tsamboura or tsikouda in Greek), which are the solid remains left from the grapes pressing. This was, however, a rather cloudy and bitter distillate. Therefore, in order to make it palatable and easy to drink, various spices were added during the distillation process, mainly anise. This way "tsipouro" was gradually transformed into a spirit dominated by the fragrance of anise... and Ouzo was born.
At the at time, in Greece the domestic production of anise was not enough for all the OUZO that was produced. The distillers, therefore, started importing anise from Sicily in bags made of jute. On these bags, the following inscription was printed: "Anise uso per Marsiglia" – which means "anise to be used in Marseille". Marseille was then famous throughout the Mediterranean region for its anise-based spirits (Pastis) and the Greek producers in order to stress the high quality anise they used for their product they referred to the Italian inscription and especially the word "uso" - a word that soon became the name of the new anise-based spirit