How rakija is drunk in Montenegro

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In old times in Montenegro there was no analgesic aid except of rakija. Many Montenegrins still cure stomach disease with rakija, drink warm rakija when have flu, have a toothache take rakija with garlic. In some villages rakija is given to women in labour as an aesthetic during delivery. This is an amazing multifunctional drink is made of fruits and has many variants: plum, apple, pear, grape, apricot, quince etc. The most famous rakija is of grape, because its production was started first in Montenegro. Very often rakija is produced from different kinds of fruits at the same time. Different spices, nuts, herbs, anise or honey can be added. Minimum aging period of a healing drink is 6 months. The longer rakija is aging, the richer, more aromatic and more effective it becomes.

Interesting fact: the secret of longevity in Montenegro is rakija. They drink every morning a short glass of rakija, which brings them strength and energy.

Have you known that rakija has amazing health properties?

How rakija is drunk in Montenegro?

Rakija in Montenegro is a national drink or to be more precise is a variety of the related drinks, which are different by taste and appearance, but united by origin and general name. A guest will always be served with rakija. In countryside it will be homemade (domaca) rakija, made by the host personally or by any of his relatives. By the way, rakija is not produced, not distilled like moonshine, it is baked.

One drinks rakija from small glasses (like shot glass) or special small bottles ("чокањи",čokanji) in Serbian it means heart of cabbage head or corncob. Drinking rakija this way, the Montenegrins can spend hours sitting around the table and discussing something. Unlike vodka, which is usually consumed in one short and bite after, rakija is sipped. This is a good drink, which is used like aperitif tempting the appetite. Usually morning starts with a cup of coffee and a glass of rakija. In winter rakija perfectly warms.

It is naturally that one can get drunk with rakija. Fighters for healthy lifestyle call rakija "Devil's drink" and "firewater" and consider the drink the reason of crimes and call to refuse its consumption. From the other hand, there are many people telling that rakija has medical properties. They advise to take it for numerous diseases. Probably there is just a doctor in Serbia, who proposes rakija like bactericide after extraction of a tooth.

Most types of rakija are related to strong alcoholic beverages. It is made of fermented fruits which undergo distillation. One can buy a distillation container freely, for example in household stores. Alternatively, it can be borrowed from a neighbor or a friend. And at last it can be rented, especially in season when rakija is making. It is not prohibited to make rakija for home consumption. The law regulates just rakija trading.

Types of rakija.

Rakija is divided into 2 types: soft and strong.

  • Soft rakija is made in the result of the first distillation and has small alcohol content (from 5 to 30%). It can be consumed as it is or used to make a Shumadian Tea. However, the main quantity of soft rakija is processed into a strong one.
  • Strong rakija or rakija of double distillation is made in the result of soft rakija restyling. Sometimes sugar is added to increase quantity and strength of the end product. But the quality suffers in this case and the Serbs disrespect such rakija.

Kinds of rakija.

There are many kinds of rakija in Montenegro and the difference is in fruits they made of.

1.Prune brandy (šljivovica)
It is the most popular rakija and a source of pride. Real šljivovica is a colorless or yellowish drink with strength from 40 to 70 °C, resulted in double distillation. Good rakija is kept in an oak barrel. As a result, color and flavor become more saturated. Unlike wine, rakija in barrels does not require special care. The longer it will be kept in a barrel, the better.

2.Klekovača (Juniper rakija)
Klekovača is made of Prune brandy and 15-20 ripe fruits of juniper per one liter of rakija. If to use more fruits of juniper, rakija gets too bitter. Then rakija should be solarized in a transparent bottle for 40 days. The color of drink becomes yellowish. Producing of Klekovača is considered a tradition of Užice region. This is a kind of a trademark. The most popular drink is "BB Klekovača", which is produced in Bajne Baste.

3.Jabukovača (Apple rakija)
Sugar content in apples is lower than in plums. Therefore, fermented apples should be distillated 3 times. Thanks to this rakija gets strength of 45 °C.

4.Lozovaca (Grape rakija)
Grape rakija is produced all over Balkans. After the second distillation, the drink gets about 65% of alcohol. Usually it is weaken with distilled water before consumption or sale.

5.Komovica (Grape pomace rakija)
Komovica is made of grape pomace, which is distillated. Since pomace is dry, the usual thing when Komovica is made it burns. In order to avoid this, some water is added into a boiler.

6. Kajsijevača (Apricot rakija)
This kind of rakija is made of apricots with external damage, over ripened or slightly tainted and thus not good for sale. As a rule, it is made in Vojvodina region.

7. Kruškovača (Pear rakija)
Is the same situation like with apricot rakija. It is made of over ripened fruits or lost market quality. The most popular kinds of Kruškovača are Viljamovka and Boškovabočica.

8.Dunjavača (Quince rakija)
Quince rakija is made of ripe, undamaged, odorous and relatively sweet local fruits. After harvest, if it is necessary to increase aroma and sugar content, fruits can be left to get ripe.

9.Višnjevača (Cherry rakija)
In fact, it is liquor made of cherry syrup with sugar and Grape rakija. It has a dark cherry color.

10.Orahovača (nut)
This drink is also liquor. Thanks to a high content of Iodine, it has properties good for health. Serbian doctors recommend it as an additional remedy for Thyroid disorders.

11. Medovača (honey) 
It is a traditional national drink, liquor with health properties. It exerts beneficial effects on blood flow, helps to fight against bacteria and viruses; it makes appetite and digestion better.

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