Raki is produced by distillation of its main ingredients, grapes and anise and, it turns milky white when mixed with water. Many people enjoy or dislike raki because of its anise taste. But there is one thing that everyone who sits at the raki table knows; they should respect raki. Due to its distinctive and respected qualities, it has been a significant part of the Anatolian culture for 500 years and; most of the raki drinking rules have remained unchanged.
In Turkish tradition, raki is called “lion’s milk” because of its colour and, the word “lion” represents a strong and brave person. In other words, in Turkish tradition, raki is the drink of courageous and strong people. So, if you think you are brave enough to drink raki, here is the complete guide to drinking raki like a pro!
Do Not Drink Raki Alone
Raki needs people as much as people need raki. It should be drinking with family and friends. If you see someone drinking raki alone, join them and cheer them up! Raki table becomes meaningful if you are having good conversations with good people. It has the magic that can unlock everyone’s black boxes hidden inside of them. Because of that raki table is also known as “çilingir sofrası”, which means “locksmith table”. But what happens in the raki table remains there! That is the reason why you should not drink raki with anyone, anywhere and anytime. Therefore, drinking with reliable people is recommended!
Take Your Time!
Start by pouring raki into the kadeh first, then add water. This order is essential for the magic mix because if the water is added first, the anise will climb to the top of the glass and taste bitter. For a pleasant taste, pour raki up to half of the glass and water into the other half. And, as a final touch, add some ice. The raki glasses, called “kadeh”, increase the pleasure you get from the raki. You should drink a kadeh of raki in an hour! Drinking the whole glass at once is disrespectful because people wait for each other for the next kadeh at the raki table. If you want to drink it like a pro, go slow! The pleasure you get from it is more important than getting drunk.
Set Your Raki Table
Raki is one of the few drinks that created its own food culture. Various hot and cold appetizers called “meze” are a must while drinking raki. Foods such as feta cheese and melon, especially seafood, are the main appetizers. Feta cheese can be flavoured by adding olive oil, thyme and pepper if desired. In addition, foods of Turkish tradition such as haydari, cacık or ezme should also be on the table. However, appetizers are not for filling the stomach but for eating in small portions and slowly.
Best Place For Drinking Raki; Turkish Taverns
Besides all the delicious appetizers, the perfect meze of raki is the conversation of a group of friends sitting around a table. The best place for that is a Turkish tavern. Slow and emotional Turkish Art Music tracks played in the taverns pushes you to share your sorrows and joys. At the end of the night, dancing and singing among the small tables allow you to get even closer with your friends. That’s why taverns are the perfect place to drink raki.
Meanings of Some Raki Drinking Rules
Meaningful rules of drinking raki make this event more interesting. If you knock your kadeh on the table once before taking a sip from your raki, it means that you toast to the ones that you love or lost. At the same time, it is for hearing the sound of raki. Because raki should appeal to our five senses. We see the milky-white colour of the raki, smell and taste the anise, and hold the thin raki glasses. By knocking the glass on the table, we hear the sound of raki.
When toasting raki glasses with your friends, pay attention to clinking the bottom of the glass. Otherwise, you will imply that you are superior to them. That behaviour is another sign of being disrespectful at the raki table.
After the sun sets, Turkish raki is the best excuse to get together with friends. Şerefe!