Raki - Alcoholic Turkish Drink
There are several theories as to the origin of its name; one is that Seyyahi Evliya Çelebi, a famous Ottoman, called the producers of Raki “Arak merchants” (arak means sweat-inducing) and over time aRaki became rakı; the Turkish drink Kımız Rakı, which was made from horse milk and derived from the word Arika; the drink originally came from Iraq and gained the name from the Turkish word Iraki, meaning Iraqi.
The best way to serve it is by half filling the glass with rakı then topping it up with water then adding ice. Food should always be served alongside; appetizers and snacks (mezes), melon and cheese or as is traditional with freshly cooked fish. Rakı can be drunk anywhere, at the family table, in a bar alone or with friends or even out in the fields. Alcohol was freely produced until Turkey was declared a Republic and at that time there were over 100 different types of rakı on the market and because of its wide availability had a very large following of rakı lovers that has since been passed down the generations. Rakı is synonymous with pleasure; in the past, along the shores of the Bosphorus, rakı was drank onboard small boats while music would be played by the saz groups on the seashore; the ritual of laying the dinner table, placing the special rakı glasses, serving delicious food alongside, right up to the final dessert, and of course the conversation that flows with the meal. Having a lunch time drink in a simple café, along with a plate of nibbles, nuts or leblebi (roasted chickpeas), or slowly sipping from a glass whilst watching the sunset changing colours in the sky and across the waters of the Bosphoros . Learning how to drink rakı properly takes a little bit of time, it is not a drink to be downed quickly and needs time to brew, just like tea, to allow any sediment to settle at the bottom of the glass; its flavour opens up with the different mezes that you eat whilst drinking. Rakı is best enjoyed around the table with food, family and friends.
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