The all important Albanian Raki
The most traditional drink I know is the Albanian Raki and it is commonly served to the older male visitors although there are some places that still serve Maize or Ouzo too.
To get a good batch of Albanian Raki it goes through a fermentation and distillation process although the slightest mistake can ruin the full batch, often called ‘soft Raki’.
My father in law grows his own grapes all year round and at various times of the year the vines are groomed and soil maintained. In Summer, the vines sprout the grapes and they grow quickly, Grapes closer to the top of the vines will grow bigger and better, therefore ensuring the vines are maintained will help ensure a better batch of grapes is produced.
At the end of summer / start of autumn the grapes are harvested and through October to December the Raki production process begins. The last of the distilled liquid has less alcohol so my father in law has to taste the liquid to ensure the process is stopped before the quality drops (that’s not a bad job!).
Albanian Raki should only be drank by itself. Mixing with beer or wine will get you drunk and give the worst handover, I learned the hard way! Therefore, if you are offered Raki you should leave the glass full, or your guest will think you like it and pour you another glass!
Did you know?
Raki can be made from a variety of fruits such as plums and walnuts, however grapes are the most common, especially in the south.
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