Turkey's Signature Drink, Raki (Lion's Milk)
Drinking raki in the company of family and friends at home as well as in taverns and restaurants is a part of special occasions. Raki, the anise flavoured drink of Turks sometimes referred to as lion's milk.
The traditional tipple is raki, a strong aniseed based spirit, which is sometimes known as lion's milk. It is clear but turns cloudy when water, ice or soda is added. Most people do dilute it with water although some drink it only with ice. Some prefer raki straight up with a glass of water on the side, although this is not recommended for inexperienced people.
Raki is so entwined with eating meze, that the meze spread is often called a raki table. Raki can be drunk with any meal yet mostly preferred by the water with seafoods.
Raki Culture and Etiquette
Raki is serious business in Turkey. Raki is the go to spirit for a celebration. However, you can't just drink raki anywhere, at any time, with anyone. All these variables depend on unspoken codes and are highly dependent on one another.
How to Serve: Raki is always served with chilled water, although some fans say ice diminishes the flavour of the drink.
Meze: Turkish appetizers (meze) are raki's perfect culinary companions, you can graze on them all night. White cheese and melon are the first appetizers to appear, at a raki gathering, you won't even have to order them.
Fasil Music: Fasil provides additional spirit at a raki gathering.
Cilingir Table: Friends gather around a cilingir table is renowned for unlocking the secrets of any heart.
Clink Bottoms: It is good etiquette to clink the bottoms of your glasses when toasting with raki.
Art of Drinking Raki
Drinking raki is an art and it has its own culture. Raki traditionally accompanies a meal of fish and in between meals, melon and white cheese are often served alongside it.
ART OF DRINKING TURKISH RAKI
Turkey's World Brand, Raki
The popular and beloved drink of the Mediterrean raki's motherland is Turkey. Although France, Italy, Spain and Greece all have raki, the Turkish raki is a whole different experience. Only produced in Turkey and made from grape alcohol and aniseed, the Turkish raki is popularly known as lion's milk.
Raki is the spirit of joy, taste, friendship and sharing.
However there is a rule for drinking this lion's milk. Even though it is mixed with water, it still quite strong (40-50% alcohol). This fact is also reminded in a Turkish proverb which states "drink carefully cause it doesn't sit as calm inside you as it does in the bottle".
For this reason, come along and let us show you how to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of raki. We will try to teach you the art of drinking lion's milk.
How to Enjoy the Beauty of Raki
Sip by Sip: Raki should not be taken all at once like taquilla. It is to be consumed sip by sip. The right way to consume raki is to first a sip of raki then a bite of some appetizer or ordeauves.
Appetizers: The best appetizer with raki is white cheese and melon. Olive oil and yogurt appetizers from the Turkish cuisine are also good with raki. Fried fresh beans, aubergine, peppers (with yogurt and garliced tomato sauce), wrapped grape leaves stuffed with rice, stufeed peppers, bakla with yogurt, antichoke with bakla, Imam Bayildi, torator, fish, fava and any other type of salad can be consumed with raki.
Authentic Turkish Dishes: Raki is also good with kebabs or other authentic Turkish dishes like cigkofte (raw meatballs).
Sea Food: Raki can be consumed with sea food. There is a Turkish saying the goes "raki, roka, cupra" meaning raki, green veggie and fish.
Deserts and Fruits: Stay away from deserts and fruits after raki. Alcohol becomes suger in the blood and there is no need more.
Meyhanes: Raki is mainly consumed in meyhanes. In Turkey's authentic meyhanes they also provide the appertizers to go with the drink. In addition with the traditional Turkish music played here you will sip your raki slowly with pleasure.
A Final Advice: Wait for after sunset before taking raki. Drinking it at the right time and the right place is always best, because like we told you before this is the Turkish national drink so "drink carefully cause it doesn't sit as calm inside you as it does in the bottle".