What is Rakia?
Rakia or Rakija is the collective term for FRUIT BRANDY popular in Central Europe and Southeast Europe. The alcohol content of rakia is normally 40% ABV, but home-produced rakia can be stronger (typically 50% to 80%, even going as high as 90% at times).
You must have heard of Rakia (or Rakija) at one point in your life, if not it is a extremely popular fruit brandy among South Slavs. Dubbed as a South Slavic version of Vodka, it’s a drink that will make you forget all other drinks. It’s especially popular in Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, B&H, Macedonia and Montenegro, however it found it’s way to the hearts of non-Slavic nations in Balkans as well, like Romania, Albania and similar. We of course talk here about home-produced rakia (not something commercial) and home made rakia alcohol content is typically 50% to 80% but many like to produce it as high as 90% at times.
Knowledge about the distillation process spread rapidly across Europe and in many countries began the production of distilled alcoholic beverages called the “water of life”. The discovery of the true origin of a particular alchocolic beverage is not at all easy since the recipes became part of national pride. In the 15th century, the production of “national drinks” in the countries of Europe started to start, the gin in England, the shunts in Germany, the aquaquita in Scandinavia, vodka in Russia and Poland, and Rakia (Rakija) in Balkans. At first they were used for therapeutic, medical purposes, but also for achieving a good mood.
In Serbia, brandy was produced from different fruits, mostly plums, only in the late 19th century, after the destruction of the vineyard with phylloxera and reduced wine production. Today, in Serbia, brandy of different fruit is produced, although the plum brandy still has primacy.
Grappa / Loza
A truly good Loza is hard to find since its very often enriched with various herbs so the herb to alcohol ratio really has to be spot on. The industrial variety (yes, there is that kind as well) is recommended if you’re suffering from severe toothache,
especially if there is any inflammation involved. Nothing, not even a painkiller will numb your tooth more efficiently than a Loza.
A true connoisseur will tell you there are tremendous home made Loza’s, and he wont be lying but if you’re new to the world of Rakija, best stay away from it until you master the other ones.