Rakı is a Turkish national alcoholic drink made of distilled grapes and anise. Turkish Rakı mostly contain 40%-45% alcohol. It is also popular in Greece and other Balkan countries as an apéritif as well as in Kazakhstan. It is often served with seafood or meze. It is comparable to several other alcoholic beverages available around the Mediterranean and the Middle East, e.g. pastis, ouzo, sambuca, arak and aguardiente. It is first mentioned by the Ottoman explorer Evliya Çelebi during his travels in 1630. In his Book of Travels he reports that ancient people produced their own raki in small towns.
Raki is normally transparent color. When mixed with ice and/or water for drinking, it turns milky white. Because of its color and hefty alcoholic punch, Turks call it lion’s milk (aslan sütü).
Drinking rakı need a ceremony, some traditions, and a good amount of pleasure. It’s almost always done with friends and lots of good food and meze which is called locksmiths table.
Sipping Turkish Raki one after another, it’s the time when you unlock your emotions and thoughts, that’s why the ‘raki table’ is also called the “locksmith’s table” where either a problem is sorted out or a love story takes place.
Meanwhile called out for a Raki night is usually considered as an invitation to start a friendship or to get to know the person better in deeper conversation. So once you’re invited for a Raki night out, it always gives you an opportunity to make good friendships in Turkey.