While enjoying cuisines from other countries is exciting, it is even more so when there is an alcoholic drink involved. Rakija is an exquisite fruit brandy that is most common in the Balkan countries. Many a travelers have fallen prey to its charms and more bartenders are serving it. Unlike other alcoholic drinks, there is a right way to drink it. Here are 5 best ways to enjoy Rakija!

They aren’t shots!
Rakija is mostly served in small shot glasses and it would be easy to take it all in a single gulp. However, that’s not the best way to drink it. You are supposed to drink it in a slow manner and savor the flavors. Rakija is best taken when with friend, giving you time for conversation in between sips. It is also important to note that its alcohol content is quite high so it would be wise to drink it in small sips.

Best temperature of consumption.
Even though recent history suggest that Rakija should be taken when it is ice cold, the truth is that most of its qualities would be lost. The reason why some people serve it cold is to conceal some of its defects including an unpleasant aroma. One of the best ways to enjoy Rakija is by consuming it at 14-20 degrees.

Quality over quantity.
The better the quality of the Rakija, the lesser the effects of the alcohol. This means that even if you drink a lot of high quality Rakija, you are less likely to wake up with a hangover. Rakija’s quality is pegged on how natural it is which is why most people in the Balkans make it at home in a rakija kettle by themselves . When it comes to various alcoholic drinks like wine and whisky, the older it is, the better the quality. The same cannot be said for most types of Rakija. They are of better quality when fresh than aged.

Eating is a general rule when it comes to drinking alcohol. It is recommended that you eat during or before taking the Rakija, if you want to wake up with all your memories intact. The best part is that Rakija is versatile enough to be eaten with various kinds of foods. In Bulgaria, it is best taken with shopska salad that is made of Bulgarian white cheese, paprika, tomatoes, cucumber and onion. Other great Rakija pairings include; plum taken with meat, quince with baked cheese, apricot with cheese or green foods etc.

Don’t break eye contact and let yourself go.
In the Balkans, it is considered as bad luck to break eye contact when toasting to the first drink. You are supposed to maintain eye contact with your drinking mate until the first drink is over. After the fourth or fifth Rakija, you should start feeling considerably drunk. Let yourself go and sing if you must. Just make sure you are comfortable enough if you decide to walk to your room.
Ultimately, the best way to have Rakija is to enjoy it!
Rakija is not meant to be taken in a haste but instead taken in slow gulps. Let yourself enjoy the rich, tantalizing, fruity flavor of this drink!