Rakia is an inseparable part of the Macedonian cuisine, which when combined with a nice salad, good conversation and company, warms the soul, whets the appetite and brings people closer.
It’s an old custom to welcome a guest at home with a glass of rakia and meze. Rakia is traditionally served in special glass flask called “chokanche”. When consumed moderately it’s believed to improve your health; it’s no coincidence that our ancestors have called it natural remedy.
Macedonia has a secular tradition of careful cultivation of grape vines and rakia production. The most common rakia is “lozova”. Produced with white or yellow grapes it is 40 to 60% ABV. The metropolis of grapes and rakia is the city of Kavadarci.
In certain parts of Macedonia the “slivovica” (plum brandy/rakia) can be very popular. One can feel the taste and aroma of the plum, and some people say that it has a rejuvenating power.
One of the best known Macedonian brands is the popular Strumica Mastika, a rakia seasoned with mastic. It is best in the region of Strumica where it has been produced for more than three centuries. This Mastika is the most famous of the Balkans, and the exquisite quality comes from the fact that it is made exclusively with natural ingredients.
The Macedonians traditionally produce rakia at home. The process is not very complicated but it requires a great deal of experience, time and care. It’s wonderful when you get your hands on an older rakia that was stored in oak or mulberry barrels. This rakia has a special gold color and a rich taste.
The Macedonian brandies have long been awarded at international fairs and are well accepted by everyone who has tried them. There are many varieties – it is up to your will and humor to see which one you will choose and how it will be combined. Until one tries a Macedonian rakia, one will never truly be acquainted with our country.