If there is something, people on Samos are looking forward to after the end of the summer season, it is of course the calmness that comes back to the island. But there are other things too: e.g., the fresh mushrooms after the first rain falls and the distillation of Souma, using the pomace from the pressing of the grapes! Always a good opportunity to gather with friends and celebrate with eating, drinking and music!
The drink Souma is made purely out of pomace through a straight-forward distillation process. Sometimes people like to add herbs to the cauldron to add flavour to the taste of the Souma.
The production of homebrewn Souma/tsipouro is allowed in Greece with the only restriction being that the cauldrons used must be licensed. The making of Souma/Tsipouro usually doesn't start before end of October.
In October 2008 I had the opportunity to watch this distillation procedure in a pot still in Stavrinides. Stavrinides is a small village surrounded by vineyards and forests, high above the north coast, located next to the village of Ambelos.
The apparatus used for the distillation was - compared to many other pot stills on the island - relatively new, almost high-tech. But they have such a beautifull copper cauldron there (Cauldron = Kasáni = Brennkessel)! All the process steps, from chopping the wood needed for the fire in the oven under the cauldron, the filling, assembly, dissasembly and cleaning of the apparatus to the measuring of the alcohol content of the Souma flowing out of a tube in the condenser tank are depicted in the presentation "Souma distillation on Samos":
To see the full resolution, click on the player window and the YouTube site will open. Please watch in high quality mode!
Music is performed by musicians from Samos and was recorded live in Pythagorio. The first song is about "Fouma, Fouma", not Souma, Souma! ;-)