Rakia: The drink that unites the Balkans

Ljiljana Krejic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Scotland & Ireland have whiskey, Russia is famous for vodka and the Balkan region is proud of Rakia. That much proud, that they tend to forget cultural & political differences when gathered and sharing this drink. Yet, all Balkan countries are claiming to be the country where Rakia is a national drink, but only one has won this battle. No matter which Balkan country you are about to visit, be sure that one extraordinary encounter is awaiting you. An encounter with the queen of Balkan spirits. If you think that it is just another brandy or schnapps, you are terribly mistaken, and you are going to dive into a completely new world, a world of traditions & rituals, full of surprises. An absolute must before Rakia adventure is this ultimate connoisseur’s guide. What to expect? Nothing but an unforgettable & crazy experience. Indeed, the power of Rakia is unbeatable – it is the drink that unites the Balkans.

A fruit brandy

Rakia is actually a sort of brandy made from the distillation of fermented fruit. Having somewhere between 45-60% of alcohol, this strong spirit can be produced from almost any kind of fruits, but the most popular one, called Slivovitz, comes from plums (sljiva=plum). Not only that each fruit gives very specific taste to that beverage, but also each Rakia has a different name, depending on the main fruit used – apple, pear, apricot, quince, cherry ….. Another important fact – Rakia is mainly made of organic fruits and almost always homemade.

When to drink Rakia?

The correct answer would be – anytime. Some people start their day with it, along with a homemade coffee. Others consume it as an unavoidable drink that accompanies business meetings, even the high-level political gatherings. When a guest comes to someone’s house the first thing he will be offered is, you guessed well, Rakia. And it won’t be a commercial one, but a homemade version, produced by the host, or his close family. Be aware, he will claim that it’s the best one in the world, so no way you can leave without drinking a couple of them.

A way of life

Rakia is a way of life for Balkan people. Whether it be a birthday, a wedding, a baptism, a national day, or even a funeral, Rakia always takes part of any social gathering. It makes people laugh, cry, mourn, relax or sing. It breaks any kind of barrier. According to local believes, Rakia is much more than just an alcoholic drink. It is a natural remedy that cures diseases, beats any virus, relieves pain, and prolongs life. Before drinking this aqua vitae, it is good to know some handy tips.

The spirit of the Balkans

Keep in mind that while in the Balkans, you will be surprised to see how many times people will give you a toast. Don’t be confused, that’s just an excuse to share one more Rakia shot with you. I can guarantee that you will even get some homemade Rakia as a gift. Actually, in that bottle you will bring home the spirit of the Balkans, that will always remind you of this amazing region. Whenever you enjoy it at home, you will remember that Rakia is the drink that unites the Balkans.

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