RAKIA – “Ракия”

Bulgarian Traditional Alcoholic Drink


Rakia is an important part of the Bulgarian culture. Although the drink exists in one way or another in most of the Balkans, this alcoholic beverage is very popular in Bulgaria, and in the countryside, a lot of people are brewing their own Rakia. With wine, which this region is very prolific with, it is the most popular drink in most of the country. And its confection is linked to the wine, as the fruit brandy that is the Rakia can be made with the leftover grapes from wine fabrication. Nonetheless, this fruit brandy can be obtained with a wild number of fruits even if grapes or plum Rakia is by far the most common in the area.


To prepare grape rakia, for example, one should take the “gibri” (grape leftovers), and leave it to ferment, then heat it to begin the process of distillation. After obtaining the distillate, it is cool down with water, then the process is repeated to obtain a liquor very charged in alcohol that can be copped with distillate water in order to bring the alcohol level from the 60° to the 40°, an operation that makes the rakia more enjoyable. As for the ratio quantity of raw material needed, our source from one of the rakia makers of the town said that 5 liters of materials equal approximately 1 liter of rakia, depending on the course of the fruit and its condition.

Rakia homemade, Preslav / ©Alice de Villeblanche

It is possible to buy rakia in store but every Bulgarian, including barmen who can sell you this commercial rakia, will tell you that the proper rakia is homemade. As Bulgaria want to put a label on rakia, there is now more control over the private installations, but there are still a lot of people brewing their homemade national drink, sometimes by bringing the raw materials to authorized installation and bringing their bottles home.  

The drink in itself is a social one, one that Bulgarian people will share with family, friends, or the foreigners they invited to their table. More than a drink, it’s a social ritual.

"Gibri" - grape leftover, Preslav / ©Alice de Villeblanche
Process of Distiling Rakia, Preslav / ©Alice de Villeblanche
Process of Distiling Rakia, Preslav / ©Alice de Villeblanche