Everybody who has visited Crete is familiar with ‘raki’, Crete’s local drink offered usually at the end of every meal, accompanied with something sweet.
Let’s learn some interesting facts about this popular Cretan spirit, symbol of hospitality and kindness.
1. How is this spirit made?
Raki is made with byproducts that derive from wine-making process. After the grapes are pressed for wine making, not leaving anything to go to waste, the Cretans use the crushed grapes (also called strafylla). As the strafylla are slowly boiled in special cauldrons, the Cretans patiently wait for the raki to flow drop by drop. The distillation process can take 3 hours or more and is celebrated with family and friends. Tsikoudia is often home-produced in villages throughout Crete, so its alcohol content might vary by producer.
2. So, how it is called really? Raki or Tsikoudia?
In Crete you might hear the name ‘raki’ more often than the name ‘tsikoudia’, however you should know that the European Union officially protects the name Tsikoudia from Crete as a unique spirit, coming from its original place. (PGI – Protected Geographical Indication Crete)
3. How is tsikoudia served?
Tsikoudia is served straight, in shot glasses, most of the times chilled. It can be served as a welcoming drink or as an aperitif, usually paired with something sweet, or fruit of the season. As far as the taste goes, we think that it pairs with any delicacies you might have available!
4. Is Cretan Raki the same as Turkish Raki?
No. Cretan Raki is pure grape distillate while Turkish Raki is processed with aniseed and it resembles to Greek Ouzo (which is partially distilled from grape residuals)
To sum it all up ..
Cretan Raki is so much more than a drink, it is a ritual, a communication between people, making stranger become friends. Locals suggest that the ‘firewater’ (as it is often called) can cure anything from toothache until love crash. Tsikoudia aids for digesting the tasty Cretan meals and it is said that it promotes a long and healthy life!
Have you tried tsikoudia yet? What are your thoughts about it? If you have any tips to share with us, we will be happy to hear!
Stin igia mas! Cheers!
*Ps. If you are coming to Crete and would like a Taxi or Mini Van Transfer, make sure to check our offers!With info from the Tiny Book & Incredible Crete & Creteplus
Images Credit T. Bouras
36 CommentsLeave a Reply
I probably just drank it, but I can not remember the taste now
Its aftertaste is a bit burning, depending on the quality and alcohol quantity.
Perhaps you should come back and refresh your memories 🙂
Thanks for commenting, cheers from Crete!
After a long time, it would have been really nice to go back and a little bit of memories – a nice day
Thank you for reading and commenting!
Thank you Ian, I am glad you enjoyed it!
Thanks, have a nice weekend!
Thank you Andrew!
An interesting presentation that makes me curious about Raki!
Thank you for commenting! Wish we could all have a shot of raki together 🙂
Yeah! That would be great, my friend
I came to know that wine will also make with Raki
Good health for good Debiting
Not sure what you mean, but yes, it is said that raki is good for you 🙂
Thanks for commenting!
is raki thick like ouzo?
No, it is not. Ouzo needs to be watered to drink it, raki not.
Thank you for commenting!
Good, because I don’t like thick liqueurs…
Thank you Georgi!
Στην υγεια μας! I spent two weeks on Crete last summer and had the pleasure of tasting tsikoudia on many times, and it was always a pleasure. The drink was offered on a number of different occasions, and Ishtar talks about my enjoyment of it at Verekinthos here: https://virily.com/travel/verekinthos-arts-crafts-village/?mref=263
This article is very informative, so, thank you for writing and sharing the information! In fact, you have reminded me that I have a couple of 100 ml bottles that I got at the airport hidden away somewhere. Now let’s hope I can find them 🙂
Thanks so much for commenting, hope you enjoy your bottle of raki with good company and great mood!
Very interesting! I have tasked raki and glad to know more about it!
Thank you Jackie, so glad you liked it!
Thank you! Hope I could offer you a shot of raki to taste!
And in Bulgaria we have brandy. I love drinking 50 grams of Shepherd’s salad.
Never tried it, but I am sure it tastes great! Thanks for commenting 🙂