The Croatian Spirits

Rakija, loza, travarica

Wherever you arrive in Croatia, you’ll be welcomed with the most popular beverage among the traditional Croatian spirits – “rakija”, a homemade fruit brandy. The most common rakija on the Croatian coast is “loza”, a grape brandy.

In our tradition, rakija is a medication for every occasion. We welcome our guests with it, we celebrate with it, but also, at hard times, we comfort ourselves with a glass of rakija. If you rub it on your skin, it will relax your souring muscles. My great-grandmother always kept a small bottle of rakija on her nightstand, to massage the cramps in her legs overnight (or at least, that was the official explanation). In winter times, it will warm up your body. In summer times, it is served chilled, to make it easier to slide down the throat.

Rakija is the strongest alcoholic beverage among the Croatian spirits, usually with more than 40% alcohol by volume. It is always poured in small glasses, slightly larger than a thimble. You have to drink it at once, in just one sip.

“Loza” with medicinal herbs is considered the most healing of all brandies. It’s a grape brandy with different medicinal herbs soaked in it. Depending on the producer’s preferences, in it you’ll find fennel, rosemary, sage, heather, anise, or juniper berries… Definitely, worth to taste!

MILD CROATIAN SPIRITS – LIQUEURS

If you are not fond of strong alcohol flavor, then there are varieties of homemade liqueurs, made in almost every household. Different fruits, like cherries, green walnuts, pomegranates, or myrtle berries are mixed with sugar (the same amount of fruits and sugar), and left in a glass jar, on the Sun, stirred every day. After forty days, the sugar will completely dissolve. At that point, the syrup should be filtered through the gauze, to separate the fruit residues, and mix it with grape brandy. If you prefer the taste of fruit, then add less brandy. You’ll get a thick and sweet liqueur, with less alcohol. The most famous is Rozulin, a liquer made of rose petals.

Don’t forget to toast properly, whenever you drink rakija or liqueur. A Croatian toast is either “živjeli” (for long life), or “uzdravlje” (for good health). We prefer “uzdravlje” because, as we like to joke, you can have a long life on life support machines, too. Definitely, not the best way to enjoy it.

Let me take you to the excursion in the Konavle region, and you’ll have a chance to taste the Croatian spirits loza and travarica, as well as numerous homemade fruit liqueurs.

Homemade rakija and liqueurs

The Croatian Spirits

RAKIJA, LOZA, TRAVARICA

Wherever you arrive in Croatia, you’ll be welcomed with the most popular beverage among the traditional Croatian spirits – “rakija”, a homemade fruit brandy. The most common rakija on the Croatian coast is “loza”, a grape brandy.

In our tradition, rakija is a medication for every occasion. We welcome our guests with it, we celebrate with it, but also, at hard times, we comfort ourselves with a glass of rakija. If you rub it on your skin, it will relax your souring muscles. My great-grandmother always kept a small bottle of rakija on her nightstand, to massage the cramps in her legs overnight (or at least, that was the official explanation). In winter times, it will warm up your body. In summer times, it is served chilled, to make it easier to slide down the throat.

Rakija is the strongest alcoholic beverage among the Croatian spirits, usually with more than 40% alcohol by volume. It is always poured in small glasses, slightly larger than a thimble. You have to drink it at once, in just one sip.

“Loza” with medicinal herbs is considered the most healing of all brandies. It’s a grape brandy with different medicinal herbs soaked in it. Depending on the producer’s preferences, in it you’ll find fennel, rosemary, sage, heather, anise, or juniper berries… Definitely, worth to taste!

MILD CROATIAN SPIRITS – LIQUEURS

If you are not fond of strong alcohol flavor, then there are varieties of homemade liqueurs, made in almost every household. Different fruits, like cherries, green walnuts, pomegranates, or myrtle berries are mixed with sugar (the same amount of fruits and sugar), and left in a glass jar, on the Sun, stirred every day. After forty days, the sugar will completely dissolve. At that point, the syrup should be filtered through the gauze, to separate the fruit residues, and mix it with grape brandy. If you prefer the taste of fruit, then add less brandy. You’ll get a thick and sweet liqueur, with less alcohol. The most famous is Rozulin, a liquer made of rose petals.

Don’t forget to toast properly, whenever you drink rakija or liqueur. A Croatian toast is either “živjeli” (for long life), or “uzdravlje” (for good health). We prefer “uzdravlje” because, as we like to joke, you can have a long life on life support machines, too. Definitely, not the best way to enjoy it.

Let me take you to the excursion in the Konavle region, and you’ll have a chance to taste the Croatian spirits loza and travarica, as well as numerous homemade fruit liqueurs.

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