What’s Rakia?

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Rakia is a strong Bulgarian brandy made from fermented fruit, popular in the Balkans and Turkey. It can be made from various fruits and is often flavored with honey, nuts, or herbs. The recipe varies by region, and it is traditionally aged in wooden barrels. It is served chilled before a meal and is often paired with salads, pickled vegetables, sausage, and cheese.

Rakia is a powerful Bulgarian brandy made from distilled and fermented fruit. The drink is most popular throughout the Balkans and Turkey. It is also widely accepted as the national drink of Albania, Turkey and the South Slavs. Rakia can be made from a variety of fruits, including plums, apricots, and grapes. It is also known in some regions as trapa or grappa, the latter being a particularly popular name for the drink in Italy.

There are numerous flavors of Rakia, made with different types of fruit. The three most common flavors are slivovica, which is made from plums, an apricot variety called kajsijevaca, and lozovaca, which is made from grapes. Other possible, though less popular, fruits used for the drink include quinces, pears, cherries, mulberries, and apples. Rakia can also be flavored with honey, black cherries, nuts or herbs.

The particular recipe used for Rakia depends on the region where it is made. Some regions make the drink with a blend of different fruits, while others tend to use just one fruit such as grapes or plums. Although Rakia is commercially available, it is more popular as a home-brewed drink.

The methods of making Rakia have remained largely unchanged since brandy was first made in the 14th century. First, the ingredients are combined and boiled in a large cauldron. Then the beer fumes are drawn through a copper tube and through a coil. The end result is deposited in a bowl of water at the end of the coil.

Traditionally, Rakia is stored in wooden barrels, as opposed to glass or plastic containers, in order to further enhance the taste. A fine Rakia will usually be aged in barrels for at least four years. Most versions of the brandy are kept for at least two years.

Rakia is usually served chilled in a glass before a meal with appetizers. Brandy is also used as a ceremonial drink on special occasions such as weddings. Those new to rakia are often warned to drink with caution, as it is extremely potent and usually surprisingly strong to the uninitiated.

Popular dishes to serve with Rakia include different varieties of salads such as shopka. Other common side dishes include pickled vegetables, sausage, and cheese. It can also be served with antipasto platters similar to the Italian antipasto with elements such as cheese, chiles, and chopped cucumbers and tomatoes.

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