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Raki - the Turkish national drink
Raki is an anisee made from grapes. In Turkey, however, it is not just a drink, it is a kind of attitude towards life, it is, so to speak, a cultural and historical legacy over many generations. Raki is particularly enjoyed with meze, i.e. Turkish starters. For those who do not know this yet, it is comparable to the Spanish tapas or the Italian antipasti.
Where does raki come from?
There are many descriptions of the origin of the word raki, but today most ethymologists agree that it comes from the Arabic word arrak (translated sweat). This name probably comes from the alcohol that drips down from the flask during distillation.
Originating in the 8th century in the Arab region, the aniseed liqueur then spread across Europe via Turkey and the Mediterranean. In Greece it is called Ouzo, in Italy it is known as Sambucca, in France it is known as Pastis. In other countries, too, anise occurs in many variations, such as absinthe, pacharan or Herbes de Mallorca contain aniseed. See our here Video to.
The difference between raki and ouzo
According to the Turkish statutes, raki is defined as alcohol that has been distilled twice and is produced in a maximum of 5000 liter copper kettles. It may only be produced from suma (grape mash) and ethyl alcohol from agricultural sources. The end product must be at least 40% vol. Contain alcohol and be made from at least 65% grape juice. In order to be allowed to call itself Raki, the product like the ingredients must come from Turkey. In the EU, the term raki is not a protected designation of origin.
Other additives such as fennel seeds and / or herbs may be used with ouzo. See our here Video to.
Why is raki mixed with water?
Raki is mixed with water for enjoyment, but can also be drunk neat. Mixing it with water reduces the alcohol content. In this way you can adjust the intensity of the taste and the amount of alcohol to your personal needs. The aim is an optimal interaction with the food (meze) and simply to enjoy the community at a Turkish table.
Mixing ratio of raki to water
There are many opinions about the mixing ratio of raki to water. Some drink it straight, some mix 1: 1 or 1: 2, we just say, do it the way you like it best.
See our here Video to.
Why does raki turn white with water?
Mixing with water creates a whitish cloudiness, the so-called Louche effectwhich is mainly due to the oils in the anise, which are dissolved in the alcohol, but when water is added they form tiny oil droplets which then cause the milky cloudiness. In Turkey, raki is also known as “lion's milk” because of its whitish color when mixed with water. The metaphor for the lion comes from the fact that the raki encourages its drinker. See our here Video to.
What is the best raki?
On these pages we offer you a constantly growing selection of different, even rarer rakis. The brands are popular Tekirdag Raki (detailed blog post), Efe and Beylerbeyi Raki, as they usually don't get them in the supermarket. Enjoy it with meze, the classic Turkish starter, but also with fish or just as a delicious aperitif. It can also be used as a digestive. Raki works wonders almost everywhere - lion's milk 😉