Among drinks, rakija/brandy occupies a special place in Serbia. Serbian drink, with a sharp taste, is an indispensable part of every table. It goes well with both traditional and modern dishes, and in the winter months, nothing will warm you up like a cup of Šumadija tea – boiled rakija with water and caramelized sugar.
As an indispensable part of every celebration (birth, baptism, wedding …), brandy/rakija is a drink with which the hosts welcome and send off dear guests.
It is made by distilling various types of fruit. So in Serbia you can try quince, apricot, raspberry, grape, apple brandy … Depending on the amount of alcohol, they can be mild or spicy, and those with a higher sugar content, such as apricot, are a favorite among the fairer sex. The ritual of making brandy is a pleasure for the whole family, but also for the members of the neighborhood.
The most famous among brandies is plum brandy/sljivovica, which is made by almost every rural household in Serbia. Serbia is one of the world’s largest producers of plums, and as much as 70% of the genus is used for plum production. It is made from fermented pomace, hook or plum juice in the old proven way.
Once distilled brandy with a low alcohol content, it is also called soft and is used to make Sumadija tea. When the distillation process is repeated, toasted brandy is obtained, the percentage of which is usually about 40% to 45%, and sometimes up to 70%. With the passage of time, brandy is getting better, and brandy that is several decades old is especially appreciated.
On the mountain Zlatibor is the village Sljivovica, named after the famous Serbian drink, and the brandy prepared according to the recipe from this village received a geographical certificate from the European Commission, as the first Serbian brand with protected geographical origin.
Sljivovica with the addition of juniper berries is a specialty of western Serbia, while in the vicinity of the town of Požega, plum brandy is made from the autochthonous variety of požegača, also of protected geographical origin.
The traditional way of serving rakija includes special utensils, so the number one national drink is drunk from liters, čokanjčić, flasks, while soft brandy is drunk from rukatka – a cup with a handle.