Raki, the famous distillate of Turkey, how to taste it and combine it
The raki is a distillate of corn, potatoes, grapes or plums, which is flavored with anise and mint. It is also called “lion’s milk”. Together with the refreshing ayran (yoghurt based), raki is undoubtedly one of the best known and most appreciated Turkish drinks and is considered by many to be the national drink of the country. It has a minimum alcohol content of 40% and a flavor comparable to that of Greek ouzo, which according to some is a direct derivation. There are those who also compare it to Greek or Albanian grappas, but in this case we are talking about marc distillates, therefore products that are decidedly different in composition and taste. The Turkish raki has its roots deep in history and there is evidence of it as early as 1600, when in Istanbul it was seen as something sinful or even toxic. Over time, the perception has obviously changed a lot and today no one is ashamed to appreciate and drink raki.
How to taste raki
In Turkey, raki is usually tasted diluted with water and with the addition of a few ice cubes. There are undoubtedly those who prefer to drink it straight, but generally its dilution in water is a very common practice.
Bottled raki looks completely colorless, but when mixed with water it becomes quite milky. It is generally accompanied with meze (cold appetizers), better if decidedly savory. However, it is not at all rare, especially in Turkey, to drink it throughout the meal, especially with sea food. In short, it is a versatile drink, which adapts to different modes of consumption, based on personal preferences and local traditions.