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Rakı Gastronomy

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The main thing that distinguishes the flavour of Turkish rakı from similar anise-based drinks in other countries is the high quality of the anise seeds, with their high essential oil content, and the variety of aromas from the high-quality grapes used in its production. Rakı also involves some rituals not shared
by other anise-based drinks. It accompanies dinner, but can also be enjoyed as an aperitif.

In its current form, rakı is different to other anise-based drinks from around the world. The production of rakı requires man kinds of grapes/raisins, agricultural ethyl alcohol depending on rakı’s character, high-quality anise, and high-quality water. Drinks such as the Greek ouzo, the Middle Eastern arak and the Balkan rakija, though similar to rakı in terms of ingredients and production techniques, do not share all of these features.

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Rakı Gastronomy

  1. 1. 01 Funda İnansal rakı gastronomy
  2. 2. Driven by centuries of history in its birthplace Anatolia and meze culture, rakı brings its own gastronomy and rituals to our tables... The main thing that distinguishes the flavour of Turkish rakı from similar anise-based drinks in other countries is the high quality of the anise seeds, with their high essential oil content, and the variety of aromas from the high-quality grapes used in its production. Rakı also involves some rituals not shared by other anise-based drinks. It accompanies dinner, but can also be enjoyed as an aperitif. In its current form, rakı is different to other anise-based drinks from around the world. The production of rakı requires man kinds of grapes/raisins, agricultural ethyl alcohol depending on rakı’s character, high-quality anise, and high-quality water. Drinks such as the Greek ouzo, the Middle Eastern arak and the Balkan rakija, though similar to rakı in terms of ingredients and production techniques, do not share all of these features. Rakı gastronomy is based on the meze culture It is very important to drink rakı cold. Almost everybody agrees that one must drink rakı cold in order to savour and enjoy it. Although rakı can be drunk straight depending on the ambiance or personal preference, chilled rakı is typically served mixed with cold water, and sometimes with extra ice. One needs to drink rakı very slowly, enjoying every drop. The meze accompanying the rakı ritual can be described as delicious hors-d’oeuvres in small portions. Snacks or bite-size delicacies from cuisines from around the world may be prepared to go with rakı. But the most important ‘meze’ for rakı is good conversation; it is as important as the harmony between the rakı and food. 01
  3. 3. Rakıgastronomytermssuchas‘forkend’arebasedonthetraditionof‘savouring the drink.’ Since the best accompaniment to rakı is conversation, tiny bites picked up with the end of the fork contribute to the overall pleasure, accompany the conversation, and enable people to enjoy every bite and sip they take. You might say that the trio of conversation, meze and rakı is what defines the whole experience. 02
  4. 4. 03 EXCELLENTEXPERIENCE,EXCELLENTSERVICE Rules and advice for serving rakı Rakı can be drunk in two ways: straight, or mixed with water. In either case, it is chilled in its own bottle and drunk cold. When rakı is drunk straight, it is served in a chilled glass and accompanied by cold or iced water. First you take a sip of rakı, and a moment later, a sip of water. It is considered a requirement to drink rakı cold. When mixed with water, ice is typically added as well. A standard ratio is half rakı and half water, but you are free to modify these proportions depending on the preferences of your guests. You should stop adding water when the rakı becomes milky white. The most important thing when serving rakı is to pour the rakı first, followed by the water, and lastly ice, if preferred. If this order is not followed, the traditional taste will not be achieved. When ice is added first to the rakı glass, the temperature shock with the ice causes crystallisation of the substances in the rakı that provide the aromas of grapes and anise, ruining the taste. Another issue with adding ice to rakı is that the melting ice will gradually alter the flavour of the rakı. Still, it is common to add ice to rakı.
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  6. 6. 05 Things you need to know • Rakı should not be drunk by itself. • Taking the first sip with bread and butter signals the start of an enjoyable drinking experience. An alternative might be anchovy paste or a similar appetiser spread on a slice of crisp, crusty bread. When you recommend similar practices to your guests and enjoy rakı together with food, there will be no stomach problems, and you will get the utmost pleasure from your drinking experience. • When drinking rakı, you should not eat quickly, but enjoy the accompanying food slowly. • Rakı should be poured from its ice-cold bottle into the glass with a twist of the wrist. The delicious aroma of anise creates a pleasant effect on the people nearby and piques the interest of guests who do not drink rakı, or who have never tried rakı before. • The order of adding rakı, water and ice to the glass must not be broken; first rakı is poured from its chilled bottle, followed by water and then ice. (Typically ice is added although connoisseurs prefer not to.) • The rakı glass must not stay empty; and if there is rakı left in the bottle on the table, it is served in a new glass without waiting for an order.
  7. 7. Social rituals of rakı drinking • Rakı is generally enjoyed in an intimate setting after the sun goes down. • The people at the ‘rakı table’ are both narrators and listeners; ideally, there is a balance between the two. 06
  8. 8. • The oldest person at the table takes the first sip, and the others do not lift their glasses or take sips before this person. To do otherwise is considered disrespectful, and is contrary to ‘rakı etiquette’. • According to the unspoken but widely accepted rules of the table, when two people clink their glasses, the older person clinks his/her glass against the bottom part of the other person’s glass. This is a symbol of both dignity and respect. Dining/drinking traditions around the world involve their own customs. Likewise, the rakı table is steeped in tradition but it is not conservative. • The drink is always shared equally between glasses. This demonstrates the ‘egalitarian’ side of rakı. • Rakı is never quaffed. Rakı is not drunk in huge gulps, but with little sips, every time the glass touches the lips. This is to experience both the intense anise aroma and the flavour of the rakı. If you don’t do this, you are not doing justice to the rakı. • After saying “cheers” or lifting your glass, you must not put your glass back on the table without taking a sip. • The youngest person at the table acts as a saki* when necessary. According to tradition, the role of saki may also be undertaken by the respected elder. *Saki: the person who serves the drink 07
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  10. 10. 09 The Rakı glass Although things have changed greatly throughout history with the invention of refrigeration equipment, the tall highball glass has become the accepted ‘rakı glass’. Rakı is served in a clear 18 cl (6 oz.) glass designed to complement its aroma and drinking style. It is important to see the colour of the drink while adding water to rakı and while drinking. Similarly shaped glasses are used for serving the water that accompanies the rakı. Although some restaurants use balloon glasses for water when serving rakı, these glasses are not typically preferred in rakı culture. Your guests will get even more pleasure when you serve rakı in the glasses designed especially for our brand, together with delicious food.

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