The Traditional and Tasty Bulgarian Rakia Drink

This dish is usually served with rice or bread on the side.

By xp5u9
December 28, 2022
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Bulgarian Rakia Drink is a traditional and popular distillate alcoholic drink from Bulgaria with a unique flavor and a high alcohol content. It is made from a variety of fruits and herbs, and it has a strong and distinct taste. The Bulgarian Rakia drink has been around for centuries, and it’s still going strong, being recognized as one of the oldest alcoholic drinks in Europe.

In this article, we will explore the traditional and tasty Bulgarian Rakia drink, including its ingredients, traditional drinking rituals, and the different types of Rakia, fruits, herbs, and spices used to make it.

What is Bulgarian Rakia Drink?

Rakia is a traditional alcoholic drink originating from Bulgaria. It is a clear spirit made from fermented fruits, typically grapes, plums, or other locally grown fruits. It is distilled to an alcohol content of around 40% and is most commonly consumed straight due to its strong flavor. Rakia is often used as a base for a variety of cocktails and mixed drinks.

Rakia has been part of Bulgarian culture since the 14th century and is a popular drink in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. It is commonly served as an aperitif before meals, as an accompaniment to appetizers, or with meals. Regardless of the occasion, Rakia is sure to please with its unique and bold flavor.

Rakia has a distinct taste that varies depending on the fruit used for fermentation. Some Rakia is made using a combination of fruits, resulting in a blend of sweet and savory flavors. Those made from grapes tend to have a sweet, fruity flavor, while those made from plums have a bolder and smokier taste.

Due to its high alcohol content, Rakia should be enjoyed responsibly. As with any form of alcohol, it can be dangerous if consumed to excess. Fortunately, Rakia’s bold flavor makes it easy to savor and truly appreciate its complexity.

Rakia is an excellent introduction to Bulgarian culture and one of the many unique experiences to be enjoyed in the country. Whether enjoyed with a meal or shared among friends, the flavor of Rakia is sure to leave an impression. If you’re looking for something refreshing and unique, Rakia is definitely a must-try.

make Bulgarian Rakia Drink

Ingredients used to make Bulgarian Rakia Drink

Rakia is an age-old drink of Eastern European origin, made mainly in Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Greece, and Moldova. It’s an alcoholic beverage that is unique to its region and an integral part of the culture.

To make Rakia, you’ll need four main ingredients: fruit, water, yeast, and sugar. The most popular fruits used for making Rakia are plums, apricots, apples, cherries, and figs. Other fruits like pears, raspberries, peaches, and quinces can also be used.

The type of water used for making Rakia is also very important. It needs to be clean and freshly filtered, as it can affect the taste of the drink. High mineral content waters are also not recommended, as they can lead to a bitter aftertaste.

Yeast is the next essential ingredient. The type and amount of yeast used depend on the type and ripeness of the fruit being used. Most of the time, winemaking yeast is used to make Rakia, although brewers yeast can also be used in some cases.

Finally, sugar is needed to provide the fermentable material for the yeast to use. This is usually added in the form of sugar syrup, honey, or molasses. Some people also add sugar directly to the finished drink, but this is not recommended, as it can lead to a very sweet drink.

Once all the ingredients are gathered and prepared, the mixture is left to ferment in a container, usually an oak cask, for 4-6 weeks. Once the fermentation is complete, the mixture is filtered and the resulting liquid is Rakia. The drink is often diluted with fruit juice or water to achieve the desired taste.

The resulting Rakia can be consumed immediately or left to age for a few months or years in oak barrels, similar to wine. This can lead to a smoother and more complex tasting experience.

Rakia is a truly unique and flavorful drink that is hard to find outside of its native countries. If you ever have the chance, give it a try – you won’t regret it!

Fruits used to make Rakia

One of the most iconic and traditional drinks of Bulgaria is the Bulgarian Rakia drink. It’s a beloved clear-colored alcoholic beverage made with different kinds of fruits based on the region in which it is produced. Depending on the region, different types of fruits are used to give the Rakia a distinct flavor.

In central, northern and western Bulgaria, grapes and plums are the most popular fruits used to make the Rakia drink. For example, in the region of Plovdiv, plum Rakia is very popular; in Stara Zagora, grapes are used; and in the country’s northwestern region, both grapes and plums are used for Rakia.

The process of making the Bulgarian Rakia is quite simple and straightforward. First, the fruits are gathered and mashed. Then, the mash is strained and left to ferment over the course of several weeks. After the fermentation process is complete, the mixture is boiled in copper pots and then left to cool and settle. Once cooled, the liquid is filtered and bottled.

In southern Bulgaria, figs, apples, apricots, and quinces are also used to make Rakia. In the city of Plovdiv, fig Rakia is popular and often enjoyed alongside cheese and nuts. In the east of the country, apples, apricots and quinces are used to make the Rakia drink.

Overall, the Bulgarian Rakia drink is made with different fruits and ingredients depending on the region in which it’s made. In central, northern and western Bulgaria, grapes and plums are commonly used, and in southern and eastern Bulgaria, figs, apples, apricots and quinces are often used. All of the different ingredients, fruits and flavors come together to create a delicious and unique alcoholic beverage that is beloved by Bulgarians and enjoyed around the world.

Herbs and spices used to make Rakia

The traditional and tasty Bulgarian Rakia drink is a beloved national drink that has been enjoyed by generations of Bulgarian people. As a strong alcoholic beverage made of distilled fermented fruit, the drink is enhanced with a variety of herbs and spices that add unique and distinctive flavors. Among these herbs and spices are bay leaves, parsley, marjoram, fennel, garlic, lemon balm, basil, and juniper berries.

Bay leaves are often used for their aromatic and antiseptic properties and deepen the flavor of the Rakia. Parsley is a popular herb that is used to add flavor, as well as its antioxidant and vitamin C content. Marjoram is a strong aromatic herb with a sweet and mild flavor and is used to give the Rakia a warm and spicy flavor.

Fennel is a sweet and aromatic herb with a mild licorice flavor and is used to add complexity and sweetness to the drink. Garlic is used to enhance the flavor and is said to be an effective digestive aid. Lemon balm is used to lessen the intensity of the drink and adds a mild citrus flavor. Basil is used to add a refreshing flavor and has digestive and anti-inflammatory properties. Lastly, juniper berries give the Rakia a strong, woody flavor and aroma.

These herbs and spices impart unique qualities to the drink and provide a unique flavor and aroma. As a result, the traditional and tasty Bulgarian Rakia drink is enjoyed by many people around the world. With its various herbs and spices, the drink has a complex flavor profile and is a popular drink to enjoy with friends and family. Whether it’s served neat or with a side of snacks, the Rakia is a delicious and popular beverage that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Serving and Drinking Rakia

Bulgarian Rakia is a traditional alcoholic drink that has been enjoyed by the people of Bulgaria for centuries. Its distinctive taste and smoothness has made it a favorite amongst many. One of the things that makes this drink so special is its preparation and consumption. To fully appreciate the taste of this special drink, it is important to understand how it is served and drunk.

Rakia is usually served in small glasses with a handle. The glasses come in different sizes, depending on how much you prefer to consume. It is usually served cold, but can be served hot if desired. It is traditionally served with some ice cubes, a few slices of lemon, and some other fruits like raspberries and blueberries. If you want to make it extra special, you can add mint leaves.

When drinking Rakia, it is important to sip slowly and savor the flavor. The alcohol content of Rakia is quite strong, so it is best enjoyed in small amounts. It is said to be an acquired taste, as it is quite different from most alcoholic beverages. Most people who drink Rakia will start off with small sips, so that they can get used to the taste.

Rakia is a great drink for special occasions, like birthdays and holidays. It can also be enjoyed on its own or with dinner. Many people enjoy it as an aperitif, as it is a great way to open an evening. It can also be served with traditional Bulgarian dishes, like borek and moussaka.

All in all, Rakia is a special drink that can be enjoyed in many different ways. The best way to experience it is to sip it slowly, savor the flavor, and enjoy the company of those around you. It is a favorite amongst the people of Bulgaria and a great way to add a bit of traditional flavor to any occasion.

Traditional Drinking Rituals for rakia

Traditional Drinking Rituals

When visiting Bulgaria, one of the things tourists need to experience is their traditional drinking rituals that include the beloved Bulgarian Rakia drink. This drink dates back over 500 years and is a national symbol for the country. Drinking Rakia is a popular tradition amongst Bulgarians and has become part of their everyday social life.

Rakia is an alcoholic drink made from fruits such as grapes, plums, apricots, and apples. It can range from 30-90% alcohol content and is clear in appearance. It is typically served cold and is enjoyed by many as an aperitif before meals or after dinner.

The unique drinking rituals connected to Rakia involve the traditional glass “razgalishka” which is a special glass decorated with glass beads and colorful ribbons. It is said that the more of these glasses guests have in their possession the more welcome they are in the household.

In addition to the drinking glass, each serving of Rakia comes with an ornate spoon made of silver or sometimes wood. Bulgarians believe that when the spoon is dipped into the glass, it brings out the sweetness from the spirit.

The traditional way of drinking Rakia also involves much ceremony and is symbolic of hospitality and socializing. The glass is placed in the center of the table and the beverage is poured into it by the host. It is then up to the guests to decide how much they would like to drink. The glass should never be drained completely and it is a sign of respect that the last sip is left in the glass. Once the drink is finished, the spoon is placed in the glass as a sign of appreciation and gratitude.

Rakia has been a way of life in Bulgaria for centuries and is deeply embedded in their culture. It is an essential element in any gathering and a way of toasting a special occasion. With its unique tradition and taste, Bulgarian Rakia is sure to delight any guest or visitor.

Bulgarian Rakia drink

Bulgarian Rakia drink recipe

A distilled spirit made from fermented fruit.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 3 hours
Fermentation 14 days
Total Time 14 days 4 hours


  • plum
  • sugar
  • water


  • Choose well-ripened prunes. It is best to clean the pits beforehand and grind the fruit into a pulp.
  • Pour the fruit into a large and suitable container. After 3-4 days, add sugar dissolved in water (25 degrees) in the amount of sugar-water 1-3(4). 
  • The sugar must be completely dissolved in water, the proportion being 20 kg of sugar, the water should be 60 l. Stir until dissolved and stir into the fruit pulp.
  • At 20-25 degrees, fermentation proceeds quickly – for several days.
  • The material thus prepared is stirred 3-4 times a day – the more, the better. After about 14 days the fermentation should have finished and the mixture should have cleared on top, but this depends on the temperature, the quality of the sugar and the frequency of stirring. Do not close the can during fermentation. It is best to measure the sugar content with a sugar meter, which should read 17-18%. If the sugar content is more – add water, if it is less – sugar, respectively.
  • There should be a distance of about 30 cm between the upper edge of the vessel and the material, at least during fermentation.
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Bulgarian

Foods traditionally served with Rakia

Rakia is a traditional, spirituous beverage that originated in Bulgaria and is now enjoyed in many other parts of the world. Its primary ingredient is grapes but other fruits may also be used, such as apples, cherries, apricots, plums, and peaches. While some people enjoy the drink on its own, others prefer to have it alongside certain foods. Below are some traditional foods that are usually served with Rakia in Bulgaria.

The first dish is the classic meze platter. This includes small plates of Bulgarian favorites, such as lukanka (a spicy sausage), tarator (a cold yogurt soup), lyutenitsa (a chunky vegetable spread), and sirene (a soft cheese). Many people enjoy the variety of flavors on the meze platter, as well as the idea of sharing with friends and family.

Another classic food that is served with Rakia is banitsa. This is a pastry made from phyllo dough, melted butter, and cheese. Banitsa can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and it can be filled with a variety of ingredients like spinach, potatoes, and mushrooms.

Moussaka is a delicious dish that pairs perfectly with Rakia. This comfort food consists of layers of roasted eggplant and potatoes, filled with a delicious beef and tomato sauce. The dish is typically finished with a creamy béchamel sauce and baked until golden brown.

Kavarma is a hearty stew that is usually made with beef, pork, or chicken. The dish is cooked in a clay pot, and the pieces of meat are cooked until they are incredibly tender. It is usually served with a side of rice or mashed potatoes, making it a complete meal.

The last type of food that is often enjoyed with Rakia is excellent salads. In Bulgaria, salads are typically made with fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and parsley. The salad is often finished off with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.

These are just a few of the many foods that are traditionally served with Rakia in Bulgaria. Whether you’re enjoying it on its own or alongside some tasty dishes, Rakia is a great way to end a meal.

Types of Rakia

Rakia is a popular traditional alcoholic beverage in Bulgaria, made by distilling fruit. Dozens of types of Rakia are found in Bulgaria, each with its own unique taste and method of production. Depending on the type of fruit used to make it, Rakia can range in flavor from sweet and fruity, to tart and herbal. Bulgarian Rakia is typically consumed as an aperitif, digestive, or as part of a meal.

Grape Rakia is one of the most popular types of Rakia. It is made from the skins, pulp, and seeds of grapes, and is aged for more than a year for a smoother taste. It is most often served chilled as an aperitif. The popular Bulgarian brandy, Gastronome, is a type of grape Rakia. Other types of Rakia made from grapes include Melnik and Mavrud, both of which are produced in southern Bulgaria.

Plum Rakia is another popular type of Rakia. It is made from the fruits, skins, and seeds of plums, and is traditionally aged for at least a year. It has a sweet and tart flavor, due to the combination of the sugar and acids in the plums. It is typically served cold or at room temperature with food.

Apple Rakia is made from the juice of apples and is aged for at least a year to achieve its characteristic flavor and smoothness. It has a bright, fruity taste and is often served as an aperitif.

Quince Rakia is made from the juices, skins, and seeds of quince, and is aged for at least one year. It has a tart, semi-sweet flavor, and is often served as an aperitif.

Apricot Rakia is made from the juice of the apricot and is aged for at least one year. It has a sweet and tart flavor, and is often served as a digestif.

Rakia is a unique and flavorful traditional alcoholic beverage of Bulgaria, and is enjoyed by all. Whether you enjoy a sweet and fruity Rakia or a tart and herbal Rakia, there is a type of Rakia that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

Types of Fruits Used to Make Rakia

The traditional Bulgarian Rakia drink is made with a variety of different fruits, most commonly plums, apricots, apples, pears, and grapes. Each type of fruit can be used separately or in combination with others, giving the drink a unique and complex flavor.

Plums are the most popular choice for making Rakia, giving the drink its signature sweetness. The flesh of the plum provides a light and fruity flavor, while the pit of the fruit adds a slight bitterness. Apricots are also a popular choice, lending a unique flavor and aroma to the drink.

Apples and pears are often added to Rakia to add a bit of tartness and depth of flavor. Apples are usually used when making sweeter variations of Rakia, while pears are used to create a dryer, more complex flavor. Grapes can also be added to the mix, providing a full-bodied flavor and a pleasant sweetness.

Finally, a variety of herbs and spices can be used when making Rakia, giving it a unique and complex taste. Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, and bay leaf can lend a wonderful flavor to the drink, while spices like pepper and cinnamon can add a slightly spicy kick.

When made correctly, the fruits used to make Rakia come together to create a truly unique and delicious drink. The combinations of fruits, herbs, and spices used to make Rakia make it an interesting and flavorful beverage that is sure to please.

Types of Herbs and Spices Used to Make Rakia

Since its invention centuries ago in the Balkans, Rakia or Rakija has become the national drink of Bulgaria, beloved by locals and tourists alike. The traditional production of this unique spirit includes many herbs and spices, giving it a unique flavor that is both savory and warming.

In Bulgaria, the most popular herbs and spices used to make Rakia are juniper berries, anise, mint, and coriander. Juniper berries impart a fruity, piney flavor, while anise brings a distinct licorice-like sweetness. Mint adds freshness and aroma, while coriander lends a subtle spicy note. In addition to these main ingredients, other herbs and spices may also be included in the mix, such as fennel, mace, allspice, angelica root, clove, and cardamom.

Other regional variations may use locally available ingredients to customize the flavor of the Rakia. For example, in the Macedonian region, marjoram is often used to bring out the sweetness of the drink. Elsewhere, nutmeg or cinnamon may be used to give a warm, spiced flavor.

In addition to herbs and spices, some producers may take their Rakia one step further by adding honey or sugar. This step adds a distinct sweetness to the drink, while also adding texture and body. The addition of sugar or honey is optional, and some producers choose to omit it in order to maintain the drink’s traditional sharp, savory taste.

The herbs and spices used to make Rakia can vary based on region and taste preferences. However, one thing is for certain: the combination of these herbs and spices, along with the optional addition of honey or sugar, create a unique and delicious spirit that is popular in Bulgaria and beyond.

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In conclusion, Bulgarian Rakia drink is a traditional and tasty drink that is made from a variety of fruits, herbs and spices. Rakia is usually served in small glasses and enjoyed in either small sips or large gulps depending on the traditions of the region. The type of Rakia and the type of fruit, herbs and spices used to make it can vary greatly between regions. Depending on the variety, Rakia can be served alone or with a variety of foods such as cheeses, smoked meats and salads. Regardless of the differences and variety, Rakia will always remain a traditional and delicious Bulgarian drink that is sure to please.

Did you try this Bulgarian Rakia drink recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @thebalkanrecipes on Instagram and hashtag it #thebalkanrecipes.

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