Our First Taste of Croatian Rakija – The First Shot and How to Deal With it…

So we are sitting in our hostel after walking over 10km today and one of the hostel owners comes in after a day of doing whatever he was doing and asks us if we wanted to try something he called Croatian Rakija.

Obviously, we had no real clue what Rakija was but he could tell we were very interested.

He proceeded to tell us it was an extremely strong alcoholic beverage made of plums that his sister grows on her farm and her father in law produces. He told us all about how you can get Rakija many places but the only good stuff is home grown as it is much stronger and “healthier” for you.

After doing a bit of research on Rakija we found that it is actually a very popular drink throughout the balkans and he told us it was generally drunk by the older generations. He told us many stories of his college days where his friend would bring 3 liters bottles of it to campus and they’d spend days drinking it and afterwards the friend would get in trouble for drinking it rather than selling it.

He also told us of the way it’s made and if it’s not made in a precise way it gets sour and undrinkable. He recalled to us a time where he lived on the second floor of an apartment and was good friends with the old ladies who lived there. One day, they had some sour Rakija so instead of drinking it used it on wounds they had on their legs for a while. After some time one of the ladies felt she had gone blind as she couldn’t read the Croatian subtitles on the tv anymore and had trouble recognizing her apartment number etc. After going to the doctors to check up on her “going bling” which she felt was perfectly natural at her age of 85, the doctor told her she was not in fact blind, just extremely drunk. When questioning her how this could happen, she explained how she had been using Rakia on her wounds for the last few weeks because everyone claimed it was a cure for everything.

And so, it came time for us to taste it. Daniel and I were a little nervous.

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The plastic cups were taken from the cupboard and set up in a row for all those who dared to try it…

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With nothing left to do, the hostel owners, Daniel, me and two other girls at 5pm in the afternoon wished each other cheers with a tap on all our plastic cups and drunk the Rakija as a shot…

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The result? It was strong and you can probably tell from the photo above that even the toughest of men can feel the wrath of Rakija. I feel slightly intoxicated from the one tiny shot that I sunk. But hey! It was lots of fun!

Planning to drink Rakija in Croatia? Definitely try it! The hostel owner did tell us though to make sure you know which one you are buying and to ask advice from a local as often in markets they will sell you “fake” ones diluted by lots of water. Make sure you ask them to try it first and if they won’t let you, don’t buy it! He also said if you can drink with locals, do it because they will know the best Rakija to drink and will only have ones from the farms they grow to ensure it is “organic”!

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