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Albanian Raki 101: What Is It and How Is It Made?

Albanian Raki 101: What Is It and How Is It Made?

Albanian Raki 101: What Is It and How Is It Made?

As the Albanian spirit of choice, raki is an artisanal drink that is deeply rooted in Balkan culture. Known for its distinct and strong taste, raki boasts diverse flavors produced through a meticulous, handcrafted process. In this article, we’ll explore:

  • - What the Albanian Raki drink is;
  • - What Albanian Raki is made from;
  • - And how this artisinal drink is made.


Whether you're new to raki or looking to revisit its invigorating taste, Me Zemër invites you to embark on a flavorful journey through Albania's spirited heritage.



What is Albanian Raki?

Raki is a type of fruit brandy known for its various flavors and rich alcohol content. With an alcohol by volume (ABV) typically ranging from 45% to 50%, raki is just as potent as vodka or whiskey — sometimes even more.


One intriguing aspect of raki is that it can be homemade. Many of the techniques used to create Me Zemër products are passed down through the years, resulting in unique variations that reflect generations of skilled craftsmanship.



What Makes Albanian Raki Unique?

Unlike Turkish raki which is made with aniseed, Albanian raki is mainly produced using fruits. It can be crafted from a wide range of fruits, including grapes, raspberries, persimmons, and mulberries. Other popular flavors include plum, cherry, and pear.


Depending on your location in Albania, you may encounter raki made with different varieties. In specific regions, the choice of fruit for raki production can be a matter of local tradition. For example, in the south of Albania, grapes are the most common base for raki. In regions like Korçë or Pogradec, plum-based raki is particularly common. In other southern regions like Ersekë or Leskovik, berries are used to create this distinctive spirit.


Whether it's the robust grape-based raki or the fruity infusions of other regions, Albanian raki showcases the artistry of local distillers and the nation's deep appreciation for diverse fruit profiles. This delightful variety in ingredients ensures that raki caters to a wide range of palates, making it a truly versatile and cherished beverage in Albanian culture.



How Do You Make Albanian Raki?

Making Albanian raki is a traditional craft that demands precision and patience. The heart of raki production lies in its use of high-quality fruits to ensure superior taste.


This potent spirit is made through a meticulous process that includes fermentation and distillation. The selected fruit is crushed, and the pulp is left to ferment. Fermentation typically takes around 2 to 4 weeks. During this period, the natural sugars in the fruit are converted into alcohol, giving the liquid its alcoholic base.


Once fermentation is complete, the distillation process begins. This is a critical phase in raki production and requires expertise. The fermented fruit mash is heated using special distillation equipment for approximately 6 hours. This careful heating causes the alcohol to evaporate, then cool and condense into liquid form.


Even the slightest mistake during distillation can ruin the entire batch. Precise temperature control and timing are crucial to ensure that the distillate is of excellent quality.


This process on how to make Albanian raki, although seemingly simple, is a centuries-old tradition. It's this dedication to craftsmanship that makes raki a beloved and respected spirit in Albanian households.



How Should You Drink Albanian Raki?

Drinking raki is also a cherished Albanian tradition. It's often enjoyed before or after meals and sometimes even in the morning alongside a cup of Turkish coffee. Albanians typically savor it with meze, a selection of appetizers crafted to perfectly complement alcoholic drinks. This practice is common across Balkan cultures.


The meze that accompanies raki is often simple but incredibly delicious. It might include white cheese drizzled with olive oil and olives on the side, creating a delightful harmony of flavors. Another favorite meze is Gjizë, which is a type of cheese. Albanians also pair raki with slow-cooked beef, salads, and cold cuts like salami and prosciutto.


To fully appreciate what raki is made of, it's best enjoyed by itself in small sips, served in shot glasses. Because of its high alcohol by volume, mixing it with other alcohols like beer or wine is not recommended. However, raki remains a staple for many Albanian families especially in rural areas. It's a drink that brings people together, ignites conversations, and creates lasting memories.



Experience the Spirit of Albania with a Taste of Raki

Raki is a drink that captures the essence of Albania's rich heritage, offering you a taste of tradition and the simple pleasures of life. Why not lift a glass of raki and relish the flavors of Albania with every sip?


If you’re eager to embark on a journey into the world of Albanian raki, there's no better way to start your exploration than with Me Zemër. Every bottle we offer is a testament to our commitment to the highest quality and the preservation of Albanian heritage.


Our passion for tradition and authenticity mirrors the spirit of Albanian raki, and we've curated a collection of the finest raki to captivate your senses. Explore the Albanian Raki collection from Me Zemër and savor the spirit of craftsmanship that’s been treasured for several generations.


We recommend the following raki's from Albania to start your journey:

  • - Rakia and Shefit (Herta) - A tribute to the companies founder; this alcoholic drink is specially treated with honey, sour cherry and hawthorn.
  • - Aged Raki (Kalmetti) - This raki is made from pressing aged kallmet grapes.
  • - Georges Aged Raki (Kinolli) - Undergoes aging for 3 years in French oak barrels; a long maturity that allows the raki to develop unique personality.
  • - Raki Moskat (Kinolli) - Utilises distillation of the moskat hamburg grape variety to catpure magnificent aromatic flavours.
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