Rakija (brandy) is called the devil’s drink, but also bears the name “fire water”. Wondering why?
Because it blurs your sense, awakens a frenzy of blood, creates the image of perfection in man’s consciousness and the invincible power. It encourages men and relaxes women. On the other hand, rakija is a drug. Its medicinal value has been known since time immemorial, and serves as a good disinfectant.
There are two types of rakija: normal (soft) and brandy (pepper). After the first distillation the so-called “soft” brandy with a lower percentage of alcohol is obtained, and by the re-distillation of “soft” rakija is obtained “pepper”. In order to accelerate the process of fermentation, sometimes the sugar is added into the fruit of which is this godlike beverage is made, which increases the amount of the resulting distillate, or leads to a decrease in quality.
The difference is, of course, in the strength! Pepper rakija is much stronger, it has more degrees, that is, more builds. Soft rakija is good for cooking and perfect for long winter days in the snow and cold nights.
Knowledge of the process of distillation rapidly expanded across Europe and in many countries began the production of distilled alcoholic beverages that were popularly called “water of life” and whose base was rakija. In the XV century began the production of national alcoholic beverages in the countries of Europe – and of gin in England, schnapps in Germany, aquavit in Scandinavia, vodka in Russia and Poland, and rakija in the Balkans.
At first the spirits, except as a disinfectant in open wounds and injuries, were used not only for therapeutic, medicinal purposes, but also to achieve a good mood, stun the beautiful ladies, relax in society, and to warm the atmosphere at the public carnival.
The percentage of alcohol in this “firewater”, which can be found on the shelves of supermarkets, is typically about 40%, but homemade rakija can be a lot stronger and it can contain between 50 and 60% of alcohol. Besides being the favorite in the Balkans, it is also considered the Serbian national drink and it is distilled and loved by all South Slavic nations – in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia. The best-known form is the plum rakija and produced from plum, this type of rakija is considered as a very good aperitif, and taking into consideration that is “opens the appetite”, it is usually drunk before a heavy meal.
Another frequently used fruits, when making rakija, are grapes, apricots, apples, pears (known as `viljamovka`), quince and figs in Croatia. Rakija of plums and grapes is often, after distillation, mixed with other ingredients such as herbs, honey, cherries and nuts. The thing that many ladies in the Balkans prefer is a good kirsch, from which, after drinking the whole bottle, they take out cherries that absorbed in alcohol for months, and then consume it as a delicacy that very soon “blows to the head.” These cherries are called “drunken”, and their taste is the most similar to candied cherry liqueur. Due to its sweetness, they know how to deceive the inexperienced aficionados to make them think that there is not a lot of alcohol in them, but this is only an illusion, because the man gets drunk faster from drunken cherries than from glass or two of kirsch.
`Brlja` is the popular name for cheap rakija of bad quality, and these spirits are commonly used in Serbia to wash windows, scrub dirty surfaces in the apartment, prevent corrosion of metal parts, for cladding, for downloading temperature, etc.
Almost every rural household in Serbia has the cauldron for rakija, and a master who knows how to work and whose knowledge is passed on from generation to generation.
RAKIJA AS THE WEDDING CUSTOM
For those who do not know, rakija is deeply rooted in the family life and traditions of the Serbs. Flask is the name for a nicely adorned bottle in which the home-made rakija is carried by a young man, usually at the groom’s side, when visiting the home of all those who have been invited to the wedding. The landlord of the house, who is being called at the wedding should take the Boucle, cross himself, take three sips from it, and make a toast in honor of the future spouses.
TEN ANGRY RAKIJAS
Ten angry rakijas, so as not to be cold,
One I drank on ex, now there are nine.
Nine of angry rakijas, I no longer know who I am,
I drank one to remember, there remained eight.
Eight of angry rakijas, now I am blurry watching
I drank one because I wanted to see, there remained seven.
Seven hot rakijas, slowly losing consciousness,
Another to wake up, now there are six.
Six of angry rakijas, I am ready for the flight,
I see ten of them, because there are five.
Five hot rakijas, I am on half of the job,
Now there or four, and I see eight.
Four angry rakijas, me sitting like a statue,
Nine glasses I can see, in fact there are three of them.
Three angry rakijas, I’m ready for anything!
Op, one disappeared, the other two are here.
Two hot rakijas, vine extraordinary,
While thinking of it, another disappeared.
I drank, and the last, and pressed the reset,
I took the bottle again, and again, ten of them!
https://youtu.be/SmUjfaOo0MU – S.A.R.S., Rakija
https://youtu.be/uLHDWnoO_zg – Marko Kon, Rakija
https://youtu.be/cd2F46he3rE – I like men who drink rakija, Viki Miljkovic
“Oh brandy, angry rakija
You watered me a lot of times.
There`s no better wife than rakija,
after three days she rocked me!
Oh brandy, I love you very much
and you threw me into the ditch slowly.
There`s no no better friend from brandy
when I drink it I do not know what my sorrow is“. Halid Muslimovic