Raki is a traditional alcoholic beverage(45°), even it can be produced from different fruits, the main ingredient is grape. It is formed by the distillation of anise with sumac which is formed by water drawn from fresh grapes.
In 19 century mostly the non-Muslim societies consumed raki. Although it was forbidden for Muslims to be proprietor of taverns and pubs that serve alcoholic drinks, they were also drank raki in the places belonged to non-Muslims.
Raki and water are poured into a small glass, because of the anise it contains, when the water is added, its color turns into milky white. It is served with water. After drinking raki, a little amount of water should be consumed. The most preferable side dish is cheese, but there are hundreds of varieties, depending on your choice, hot or cold mezes will crown your table. Raki should be drank not so fast or slow. When you drink too fast, it makes you drunk quickly. And you can not enjoy it, if you drink too slowly. The most significant difference of raki from the other drinks is that, it spreads through time and that it has a lot of side dishes.
Most popular places in Istanbul to experience is in meyhanes (tavern) located in Kumkapi, Cicek Passage, Nevizade…
The rituals of drinking raki:
- It shouldn’t be drank before sunset.
- It should be drank for fun and talking not for sorrow.
- It shouldn’t be drank too fast or too slow.
- In the table, you should not eat much, side dishes should be enough.
- You should first pour the raki, then water, and finally ice to the glass.