You may not have ever heard of rakija, but bartenders across the globe are obsessed with it. So, what is this popular drink and why haven’t you tried it yet? Keep reading to learn more.
It goes without saying that every country has its beloved beverages, and the Balkans’ are no exception. Rakija is a strong fruit brandy quite popular in Eastern Europe. In Hungary, it is called pálinka. The ingredients will make your mouth water too. Using a rakija kettle, rakija is made of distilled and fermented fruit such as pears, apricots, plums, grapes, and raspberries.
Depending on how fancy you want to get, some brands also infuse their rakija with flavorings such as walnut, rose, and honey. And, some people have compared rakija to the moonshine of the Balkans. Yet, in Eastern Europe–and soon throughout the world–Rakija isn’t just a drink, it’s a way of life.
Another reason why Rakija is so popular is that there are countless varieties. Whether it is homebrew or something commercial, you can find a flavor to suit any preference. Not to mention, it makes a great base for a delicious cocktail. Instead of vodka, or gin, many bartenders are reaching for rakija. And, it’s no wonder because the drink is just simply satisfying.
To be clear, those from the Balkans would shun using rakija in a cocktail. The expected way to drink it is straight so you get a bit of burn down your throat as you swallow and savor the brandy. Nonetheless, mixing the brandy is an effective method for introducing it to new drinkers. It softens the strength a bit until you can drink it straight.
Also, this beloved fruit brandy usually has an alcohol content of 40 percent. In addition, home-produced rakija can go as high as 90 percent alcohol. While that seems quite potent, you can choose the ABV that works best for you. Moreover, if it’s still too strong, you can always dilute it a bit more with your favorite mixers such as a delicious pomegranate or even sparkling grape juice.
Rakija is so well-known in the Balkans that it has even been used in religious ceremonies. For instance, at the commencement of an Orthodox Christian burial service, visitors are often given a slice of bread and a glass of rakija.
It’s also used often in wedding ceremonies, pre-wedding celebrations, and home gatherings. To illustrate, rakija is often offered to guests who are invited to someone’s home. Yet, there’s even more to this mesmerizing drink–it may also have some health benefits. In fact, in normal quantities, rakija offers the advantage of natural antioxidants which can help prevent the free radicals that cause aging. Some fans believe rakija helps with blood circulation.
Moreover, this drink keeps you warm. In the coldest of winter months, a bit of rakija will make you feel much more toasty as it warms you up from the inside out. So, if your heater is having some issues, pour yourself a glass of rakija.
As you can see, there are many reasons why rakija is highly adored. Once you try it, you’ll see why too.