Raki - The Turkish national drink
An anisee made from grapes
Raki is the Turkish national drink. In Turkey 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.
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.
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.
Raki is mixed with water to enjoy. This creates a whitish cloudiness, the so-called Louche effect, which 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 after mixing with water. The metaphor for the lion comes from the fact that the raki encourages its drinker.
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.
On these pages we offer you a constantly growing selection of different, even rarer rakis. The brands Efe, Tekirdag and Beylerbeyi Raki are popular because they are usually not available 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 eben