Croatian sour cherry liqueur visnjevac steeping in the sun. Standard Size 750 ml (1) Maraska Kosher Slivovitz 750ml. Click here to buy a bottle of rakija online! Growing up, for fruit, means ripening or reaching maturity. If you’re eager to learn more about the quintessential Croatian rakija, you’ve come to the right place. ", Ivan Đurčević the second – who goes by the nickname Ica – tells us. Ica explains, "Once the fermentation process is over, the krovina will be black in color. Travarica is a great choice if you'd like a rakija that's tasty and, per tradition, medicinal at the same time. It’s work, but it’s also a celebration. Often served before a meal, it is more than just a drink. Thank You, I Learned A lot From This Article & Look Forward To Trying A Little Rakija I Think I Can Buy Some At Foremost Liquors In Chicago They Have A Lot Of Import Liquors. Rakija lowers blood pressure, making us feel colder. Now that you’ve stocked up with plenty of rakija, do you know how to drink it? Just as there are wine regions in Croatia, there are also rakija regions. During fermentation, a top layer forms called krovina. A commonly added herb is sage, thought to heal respiratory ailments and contain antibacterial properties. ", Ica notes. Then you’d maybe want to opt for a slower drinking, accompanied by a glass of water. The alcohol content of rakia is normally 40% ABV, but home-produced rakia can be stronger. So, participating is completely voluntary. The most common additive to rakija is honey, which produces a sweet and easy to drink liquor known as medica. That's why we say, 'The vineyard seeks a servant, not a master' [Vinograd traži slugu, a ne gospodara]. Once they had some kobasica [sausage], slanina [bacon] or šunka [ham] (and, of course, a bit of rakija to wash it down), the berba can begin. Notorious for its high alcohol content and easy drinking culture, no trip to the Balkans is complete without sampling … Contrary to local spirits like chacha in the Republic of Georgia, you don’t drink the small glass of rakija in one go. Locals, distant relatives and family members spend time together during a harvest. The rakijas produced by the Đurčević family aren't the only types out there. Let us know in the comments below. What did you think? šljivovica/slivovitz – plumlozovača/loza – grapeskomovica – grapesvilijamovka – pearjabukovača – applesadna rakija – fruit medleydunjevača – quincekajsijevača – apricotdrenovača – cornelian cherry, travarica –steeped with herbsmedica – steeped with honeybiska – steeped with mistletoesmokovača – steeped with figsrogačica – steeped with carob, orahovac – walnutvišnjevac – sour cherryborovniček – blueberriesmirta – myrtlekruškovac – pearMaraschino – Maraschino sour cherrylimončelo – lemonarancino – orangerozulin – rose petalsteranino – Teran red winepelinkovac – wormwood and other herbs. It should be Let's drink a little wine to warm up.". The first rezidba takes place at the end of February or beginning of March. Commentdocument.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "a1e38e11c868f764b7bdaab3a003e7ad" );document.getElementById("b34608e215").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); © 2020 The World Was Here First • All rights reserved. But if all goes well – your fruits should thrive under the Slavonian sunshine, soak in the sporadic summer rains, and fill the air with their blooming fragrance. It’s the grape rakija that is most common in the coastal regions of Croatia… In small communities, you know who has what piece of equipment, who specializes in what… Basically, you know in what ways people can help each other. I love how you described rakija and lil rituals connected to it Cheers/Ziveli! This is the case with smokovača [fig rakija], rogačica [carob rakija], and medica (honey rakija). Because of its alcohol content, rakija is dubbed a man’s drink [muško piće], while liker is commonly offered to women. SPIRIT OF RAKIJA When it comes to rakija, our advice is to enjoy it in a true Croatian spirit. Ica explains, "The fruits' slador [natural sugars] create alcohol during the vrenje [fermentation]. One must be prepared in case the unannounced guests show up. If you want to have a guide with you and learn more about the spirit, then we recommend going for a full rakija degustation with a local guide. "I also love eating the rakija-soaked cherries that I make višnjevac from! Rakija is by far the most popular alcoholic drink in the country of Croatia. $22.99. is a great choice if you'd like a rakija that's tasty and, per tradition, medicinal at the same time. Croatia (1) Type. 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Croatia. 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. Rakija is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in Croatia. It’s a strong drink – domestic forms of rakija will have an alcohol content of over 40%, commercial brands slightly less – so it’s important to keep track of how much of the stuff you’re quaffing. It often does!". The equipment you need for that is a kazan [a still]. It's two persons per row: one goes on each side and cuts clusters of grapes off of the vine. That's Ivan Đurčević the third", Ica chuckles as he explains his family suffixes. Simply put, rakija … Like most families, the Đurčevićs use an older sort of the European plum (Prunus domestica) known locally as šljiva mađarica or bistrica. There is a distinct protocol when it comes to drinking Rakija, and if you don’t want to make a social faux-pas, follow these rules on how to drink rakija properly and you will survive any Balkan trip while seeming like a local! Wherever you may find yourself in the Balkans, be it in Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, or elsewhere, you’ll rarely be far from a bottle of rakija. This Croatian alcohol has been produced and perfected in the region for thousands of years. Ivanovo Brdo is part of the foothills of the Dilj Mountain, which straddles Slavonski Brod from the north, along with the Sava River from the south. Maraschino, the most well-known, is made from cherries, but has a kick. One of the ways to insult someone in Croatia is to call them a ‘solo trinker’. There are always snacks and drinks available for the harvesters.”. 4 reviews. Meals & Dining Customs. But those who work hard during the berba itself get treated to another special occasion: the famous after-berba feast. Let us know in comments! And while you’re enjoying your rakia… Whether you're making rakija from a fruit grove or a vineyard, you'll have to participate in the springtime process of pruning – or rezidba in Croatian. Rakija is one of the more common liquors, resembling jet fuel in taste. The most common fruit-based rakijas get their names after the fruit they are distilled from. says Ica, grinning. Required fields are marked. There is no universal rakija recipe. The normal alcohol percentage of Rakia normally is 40%, but home made Rakia can be as strong as 80%. Craving rakija but can’t make it to the Balkans? Ica, who learned the rakija ropes from his grandfather and father, helps us pinpoint the different types of Croatian rakija. Simply put, rakija is a brandy that comes in various flavors, colors, and levels of intensity. And this liquid is rakija. In this phase of rakija making, you'll have some time to kill. Many people before you have made this mistake as well and it’s not until later that they learn that rakija is meant to be sipped and savoured, not down like a tequila shot at a hen do. There are numerous beers in Croatia for you to try whilst on your holiday – perhaps the best known are Karlovacko (brewed in Karlovac – hence the name), Ozujsko and Pan. Click here to buy a bottle of rakija online! At temperatures 14-20 degrees Celcius, it usually takes 21 days. Now, let’s visit the Đurčević’s vineyard and fruit groves. If you want to sip rakija off of an extensive menu with a knowledgable staff, head to Rakia Bar which is located not far at all from Republic Square. Grapes, on the other hand, are cut from the vine with gardening shears. Rakia … This … Mirjana says, "During the berba, there are usually two women in the kitchen preparing food. with insider tips on how to enjoy Croatia like the locals do! There are some pretty intense liquors in Croatia. If there is juice… All you need to know about Balkan healthcare. We like WorldNomads and always use them for our trips – click here to get a quote from WorldNomads. "These are friends and family. Michael had a hostel worker chase him around insisting he have his welcome shot at 10 AM when he checked in. In fact, any fruit containing the sugar needed to create alcohol can be used. The most popular variation of the brandy is slivovica, or plum rakija, but it is common to find it made from everything from grape, apricot, quince, and fig. For instance, it is customary at a wedding for the groom’s father to go around to all of the guests and offer them a shot of rakija. The kazan used by the Đurčević family in their 2020 pečenje. Liqueurs use rakija as a base. As for who owns the kazan, it's a word-of-mouth thing. In the Đurčević family, this process is overseen by the watchful eye of Ica or Đuka who make sure the fruits don't catch disease. Don’t be ashamed if you didn’t know to sip it before your first foray into rakija drinking, however. You’ve gotta savour what you have while you have it! They bring and carry yeast, which can't be dispersed alone across vineyards. The grape-based lozovača might not be ready until fall, but plums, for example, can be distilled as early as July. We’ll find them near Slavonski Brod, at 200 m high on what the family endearingly calls Ivanovo Brdo, [Ivan's hill]. Have you got your copy of the Croatian Desserts cookbook? Soon it will be my son Đuka's. Our most common dishes for the berba are chicken paprikaš [a hearty stew enriched with paprika spices] as well as prase na ražnju [pig on a spit]. This brew is considered a cure, not so much a drink. Rozulin (rose petal rakija or rakija od ruže) and Maraschino (a translucent liqueur made from the special sour cherry variety) are two most common liqueurs used to scent our desserts. You may be excited to take shots your first night there, but you will learn your lesson the hard way. Rakija is healthy. There is also a cylinder through which the condensation is cooled, and another container for the alcohol that comes out. First, the fermented fruit is added to the kazan's container. These include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia… The liquor goes down quite easily, so make sure to pace yourself when drinking as you never know how strong it will be! I am happy you enjoyed this rakija guide . Twice-distilled rakija is called prepečenica. Ica explains, "Rakija cools the body down when it's consumed, and wine warms it up. Rakija is usually made from overripe fruit (most often plums, however, really any fruit will due) that is collected and mashed so the juices are released. The last rezidba is usually during Josipovo, the holy day of Saint Joseph, celebrated on March 19 across Croatia. Maintain eye contact until you have taken the first drink! But we do show our thanks in other ways”, Mirjana says. Once the fruit is mature it's time for the harvest. Though, as rakija experts will tell you, the making of this respected Croatian alcohol should be bestowed only upon choice fruits. The herbs traditionally used in travarica are believed to have medicinal purposes. ", The Đurčević family vineyard during zrioba. You can learn how to bake Croatian sweets, of course, using rakija and liqueurs. "Then, the fruit is left to grow up!" In fact, the beverage is most often drunk as a digestif and while you may have more than one, it is not customary in the slightest to knock it back in one gulp. When it comes to rakija, 100 liters of liquid will usually provide you with 5 liters of quality rakija. "My personal favorite is vilijamovka… šljiva… loza… and all fruit rakijas", announces Ica, to everyone's laughter. In Lika, for example, there is rakija made from hawthorns: glogova rakija or glogovača. Yes, we … Homemade Rakija … This process lasts for a month minimum, however, the better rakijas are aged for longer. Numerous types of rakija are produced all across Croatia. Thanks, Adam. A better question would be which country makes the best Rakia overall? This magical mush, also known as kom, is a pomace of grape peels, pulp, and seeds. I usually make makovnjača and orahnjača [sweet roll cakes filled with poppyseeds and walnuts, respectively]. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we make a small commission at no extra cost to you. After all has been eaten at the Đurčević family berba; only a few slices of makovnjača remain on the table. Famous Croatian walnut and poppy seed rolls - potica or povitica. Rakijais a very strong fruit brandy, with up to 40% alcohol content. You may also encounter Osjecko (in fact, the oldest beer in Croatia – first brewed in 1697 and from Osijek, again hence the name); the dark beer Tomislav an… It might seem counterintuitive, but it's true. The citizens of the Balkans have a superstition about making eye contact when first toasting and they are very serious about it. Variations aside, one thing matters the most: domaća rakija [homemade brandy] is the best. Ripening lasts from spring through summer for most fruit. Rakija, both homemade and commercially produced, generally contains around 40-60% alcohol by volume, however, it is more common for homemade rakija to be more potent. Travarica is usually made with lozovača as a base, with various herbs added in. We don't pay them; just like we don't expect to get paid if we help them. It is one of those things you must try, even if it’s not really your thing. ", The Đurčević family vineyard has done its job. But having the harvest on a voluntary basis keeps the communal bond aflame. Rakija is the most popular alcoholic drink in Croatia. Which is your favorite Croatian rakija? Pečenje lasts multiple days, or even weeks, depending on the size of the kazan and the amount of fruit. This expert guide on rakija was written by Andrea Pisac and Lara Rašin, with the generous hospitality and insights from the Đurčević family in Slavonski Brod. The length of fermentation depends on the temperature. "All of the non-flavored rakijas are equal to me! Rather, the whole distilling period is when the men hang out, sip on rakija from last year, tell jokes, and reminisce on old times. Brandy & Cognac (1) Size. Locals take turn renting it because not everyone distills at the same time. Never drink solo. When the fermented fruit heats up, hot condensation rises up, separating the alcohol from the mush. The longer the fruit ferments, the bigger the krovina grows. These are the Đurčević family's favorites: "Vilijamovka is the best", Đuka claims. and make sure you are looking your drinking partners in the eye! So next time you make a toast, think about dedicating it to fruit flies; without which your glass would be empty. Those set aside for lozovača are washed and placed into a kaca, an open barrel. Most households in Croatia have at least one type of rakijastowed away! I had to politely decline when I essentially had it forced on me when I had a cold, told that because it was infused with honey it was “medicine.”. Often served before a meal, it is more than just a drink. Based in Slavonski Brod, their rakija- and wine- making tradition dates back over 100 years. Most harvests in Croatia are a family affair. Just a couple of more steps before you get set up! Sugar is also added, as well as vanilla, lemon and orange peels, and juice. "We set a big, communal table where we serve food and drinks. It shouldn’t be too hot, as it can burn the fruit, but it has to be strong enough to turn liquid to gas. In Croatia, rakija is many things: a delicacy, an art, a pastime, or a sport, depending on who you ask. Dubbed as a South Slavic version of Vodka, it’s a drink that will make you … To create this guide, we enlisted the master help of the Đurčević family. When a bucket is filled, a putunjaš comes over to empty it. Our expert guide unravels all rakija's secrets. Šljivovica (also known as simply šljiva) is made from plums. Lozovača (also known as loza or lozova rakija) is created from grapes picked right off the vine. If you're looking for a liqueur, Mirjana gives an example of an old family recipe for orahovac. 9. Can wait to taste orahovac again in Croatia! It is usually served with ‘smokve,’ which are dried … A glass of rakija should be enjoyed in quite a few sips. Rakija might be a classic souvenir to take home following a trip to Serbia, but it isn’t some sort of gimmick alone. Find out which types you can try in Camping Village Šimuni! It's very acidic, and if it was mixed into the rest, it would make the rakija sour. Distilling rakija is known as pečenje. "Ok, if I had to pick one, then loza, or vilijamovka.". No matter the type of Croatian rakija, Ica reveals one common similarity. It is considered to be bad luck to break eye contact while taking the first drink. Ingredients. These grapes are specially separated from those that go into winemaking. Although literally translated as ‘Dirty Macaroni’, don’t let the name alarm you. Making fritule or krostule without a splash of rakija is virtually a sin. Here’s ones of the reasons šljivovica stands out. They use their eyes, nose and ears to spot the signs: when the krovina turns black or the fermented fruit stops making fizzling noises. "We have people in our berba that are older than our vineyard", Đuka jokes, laughing with his parents. For example, made from European plums gives you 12 liters of quality rakija per 100 liters of liquid. Some of the most popular types of rakija are medica (the honey rakija), višnjevača (the cherry rakija) and šljivovica (the plum rakija). How to make rakija in 10 steps according to Croatian locals, 7 yummy spreads Croats love to put on their bread, Croats teach the world: how to do less and achieve more, How to cure a hangover in Croatia: best home remedies, Croatian Sweet Pinca Bread: 5 secrets and a secret recipe, Croatian desserts: 13 sweets the world should know about, Best of Croatia in 2017: 20 super events that made us proud. 3.8 out of 5 stars. When rakija in the Balkans, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a travel insurance policy so you’re covered for any unfortunate events! The most beloved liqueurs in Croatia are orahovac made with green walnuts and višnjevac with sour cherries. For more information, see our privacy policy. Did you know that rakija cools and wine warms the body? You might even hear that something is žensko piće [a woman’s drink] if it’s not as strong as a real rakija. Drink it as a aperitif at family lunch, or treat your old friends and enjoy the good time while memories and stories … Flavored Brandy (1) Category. This particular Croatian rakija is made from the so-called Williams Pear sort, also known as the European Pear. Then, the fire beneath is lit. When you are offered a shot, clink glasses as is customary and say “živeli” (zhee-ve-lee, “cheers” in the Serbo-Croatian language. The only exception is pelinkovac, which is both bitter (the word pelin means wormwood) and sweet. Lika is also proud of drenovača or rakija od drijenka (cornelian cherry brandy). But there's still a long way to go in the process of making this alluring Croatian alcohol. Check your spam folder ff you don't see my email. Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Plums come in various types. She's the most generous of all. In addition to being so good you can drink them by themself, rakija … But experienced rakija producers know exactly when it’s time for the next step. There are rare exceptions, though. Rakija (rah-kee-yah) is the catch-all term for any kind of spirit distilled from fruit (and not just fruit) in Croatia, and it translates to ‘brandy’. Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. A commonly added herb is sage, thought to heal respiratory ailments and contain antibacterial properties. Your email address will not be published. Fruit is healthy. Another is the immunity-boosting rosemary. Check your inbox for the email from Andrea Pisac. click here to get a quote from WorldNomads, 8 Great Reasons to Visit Cartagena, Spain, The Best Coat for London Winter (or Spring & Autumn! Confirm your subscription and wait for my second email where you'll find a link to download your FREE guide. The worst would be to say Let's have a rakija to warm up. Our saying zdrav ko dren [healthy as a cornelian cherry] confirms that belief. The so-called travarica – a kind of herbal rakija, is often served with smokvenjak – a type of cake, made with dried figs, chopped nuts, and aromatic herbs.. Other kinds of herbal rakija … The Balkans region is where Rakia is famously from, with around 8 countries known for making and consuming the drink regularly. "Komovica, however, is lower quality rakija than lozovača", Ica's son Đuka notes. Friends and family receive products that are borne from the berba: fresh grapes and fruits, jams, rakijas and wines. Sugar and fruit are added, then steeped for a while in the sun. “Every other rakija has to be distilled twice, except šljiva”, Ica says. Some people add coffee beans to orahovac, but we prefer it without. White plum, for example, is even a bit reminiscent of rosemary! Other grapes are pressed for juice and wine while the pomace leftover is made into komovica. This makes liqueurs sweeter and less strong. While the berba is ongoing, another woman and I cook food for later. Fruit flies (also known as Drosophila) are particularly important in cases of spontaneous fermentations. It includes rakija recipes, deep dives into different sorts, and locals' stories that give it a cultural context. It’s a strong drink – domestic forms of rakija will have an alcohol content of over 40%, commercial brands slightly less – so it’s important to keep track of how much of the stuff you’re quaffing. Disconnecting people since 1273Is rakija … Fermentation times can vary depending on a number of factors. Rakija (or rakia) is considered to be the national drink of the Balkan nations. Wine increases blood pressure, making us feel hotter. If you decide to experience rakia in a restaurant, do it while eating … If you're looking to lowers your stress levels, throw in a few sprigs of thyme, too. I have a soft spot for orahovac, though", says Mirjana. Somewhere in between is rakija with steeped fruit but without added sugar. Coffee is served to anyone who would like it, too. The exception to the rule is when you drink rakia with friends in a bar, as the main drink. Eat before or while drinking rakija. These drinks also contain high percentage of alcohol. "My family has been making wine and rakija since around 1900. This is one of the younger men whose duty is to carry a huge container on their back. Again, which rakija is best is really up to taste and it varies from person to person. Yes, that's me! ", she adds, laughing. Great article, thank you!! In smaller towns and in homes, a glass of rakija … Your email address will not be published. Drinking rakija in the Balkans is surrounded by ritual. It's a chance to see people you haven't seen in a while. After that, it is left to ferment for a number of weeks — usually 3 weeks if making it in the warm late summer, when it is most common. Most rakija in Croatia is produced at home. Each day is spent distilling over the course of multiple hours. When she’s not dreaming of far-away lands, Maggie enjoys drinking copious amounts of coffee, Harry Potter, and coaxing stray cats into her home. One of the best ways to get to know a culture is through its food and drink and learning about what rakija is and how to drink it is an important part of any trip through the Balkan nations. Even today, entire neighborhoods can share a kazan. A few examples are: Vilijamovka or kruškovača – from pearsJabukovača – from applesSadna rakija – from a fruit medleyDunjevača – from quincesKajsijevača – from apricotsDrenovača – from cornelian cherry. 10 centimeters of krovina are taken off the top of the fermented fruit. Learning about how to drink rakija and how rakija is made is one of the best things about travelling in the Balkans. Ica's wife and Đuka's mother Mirjana Đurčević chimes in: "In a vineyard, you always have work to do. Rakija is a kind of fruit brandy native to the Balkan peninsula and you will be hard-pressed to escape the region without at least being offered the beverage. Rakija, a hard alcoholic drink obtained by distillation of fermented fruits many of us love to prepare in the wintertime over the fire. Every culture has its spirit, and rakija is Croatia’s. If you’re anything like … “Na zdravje ” is how you say cheers in Macedonian. It is also traditional to offer it to any guest in your home, which is why, if you will be staying at a locally owned hostel, guesthouse, or B&B, you will not be able to avoid it! Say “na zdravje“ if you’re drinking rakija in Slovenia!) Once the fermentation is complete, the mash is diluted and boiled down twice then transferred to barrels or other receptacles to age further and develop the flavours. Rakija is traditionally served in a small glass with a very narrow neck and a more bulbous bottom. Rakija is made from fruit. Rakia or Rakija is the collective term used for fruit brandy popular in Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and other Balkan countries. Blossoms are pollinated by bees, and then the tree or vine bear fruit. Hiring workers would make more sense financially. The most popular alcoholic drink in Croatia is, in fact, rakija. However, exact grape varieties are less important when it comes to rakija than when it comes to wine. Drinking from a glass like this actually makes it quite difficult to drink rakija as if you’re doing a shot. The traditional firewater of choice in Dubrovnik dives into different sorts, and medica ( honey rakija is... 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