Friday Fun: Raki; traditional Turkish drink

Rakı'N' Fish

 

Today is friday, weekend is coming!

I will meet with my friends and drink RAKI till morning. So let me explain what is RAKI (It's similar to Greek ouzo and French pastis.) and how you drink it. 

Raki is a type of alcohol drink made from grape, with suma and aniseOn such nights, the Raki gathering becomes a kind of group therapy session in which a friend shares his or her troubles, you offer your own wisdom in return and everyone takes an occasional break from the intensity for a wider discussion on the meaning of life.

Drinking Raki is an art and Raki has its own culture. It is unusual for a Turk to drink alcohol without eating at the same time. Drinking Raki is a real ceremony and it is so easy to make faux pas, if you don't know several rules about drinking style and drinking table. Raki is a culture itself - and in my opinion, to speak about it under one title is not enough. It has many details such as drinking style, Raki table's rules, food and music. So, here are some rules about drinking this "lion's milk" (Raki).

 

Under this title I would like to speak about food.

I want to start  with my favourite one: white cheese and melon. White cheese is an indispensable for Raki table. Especially I prefer and advice 'Ezine Cheese'. Small pieces of white cheese are really good for Raki. Also cold melon is one of the best fruit with Raki. Burning throat after sipping your Raki, will turn to perfect feeling if you eat sweet cold melon.

Fish and raki: a perfect couple. 
Everybody likes different fish. But I advice you grilled bluefish. Red mullet and gilt-head bream are also so delicious with Raki. Actually grilled fish is far better than cooked one. Fond of sea-fruit? You have to try fried mussels with your anise vodka. 

Image result for raki balik

 

Under this title I would like to speak about Rules of the table

If you're celebrating, six to eight people might surround the Raki table. For a really big event, such as a wedding or a birth, 25 people might gather round.

In this case, the venue might be somewhere such as tavern where the night starts with classical Turkish music and moves on to a belly dancing show. Many such watering holes feature a "fasil ekibi", a band of male musicians who play traditional tunes on instruments such as the ney (a reed flute), a "saz" or a "kanun" (both string instruments). Traditional but not staid: a Raki-fueled night often ends with people dancing on tables and chairs.

But if a Raki table is gathered to help heal a broken heart, it's a much more intimate scene: two to four close friends.

On such nights, the Raki gathering becomes a kind of group therapy session in which a friend shares his or her troubles, you offer your own wisdom in return and everyone takes an occasional break from the intensity for a wider discussion on the meaning of life. Such discussions explain why the Raki table is often called "cilingir sofrasi", which literally translates as locksmith's table. Raki, in other words, has a mysterious power to open up even the most reserved person.

Clink Bottoms

  • When toasting, be sure to do so with the bottom of the glasses clinking. 
  • Touching the top of someone's glass means you think you're better than him or her. 
  • One of the loveliest Raki traditions is to knock your glass lightly on the table after toasting in remembrance of someone you wish were present. And now you sip.
  • That mesmerizing aniseed smell might seem strange at first, but it soon becomes pleasurable. 
  • Even if you don't want to drink Raki, order a glass and pretend. Some people might take offense if you drink anything else at a Raki gathering. 
  • Like the healing wisdom, the good conversation and the Raki itself, everything on the table is meant to be shared.

Image result for raki fasil

Serefinize! ("Cheers!")

So, which food would you like to eat with your traditional drink?

3 comments

Kevan Lin Atlassian Team Nov 02, 2018

This is an amazing cultural moment that you've shared with us @Mesut Yilmazyildirim!! 

My traditional drink of choice was Taiwan Beer (before becoming gluten free) and pairing that with all of the street foods in the open air night markets in Taipei. Oyster pancakes, oyster noodles, green onion pancakes, baos (dough buns filled with meat). Although not steeped in such deep cultural practices, this was a social outing that I have most enjoyed all throughout my life. Best conversations and interactions with my friends that I have ever had. 

Like 3 people like this
Erica Moss Community Manager Nov 02, 2018

@Mesut Yilmazyildirim I think you just set the bar for all future Friday Fun threads, Mesut! Such a fascinating read — thank you for sharing a slice of your world with us. 😄

Like 3 people like this

I am in awe - and a bit intimidated looking at the topic I have planned for the next Friday Fun.

Like 1 person likes this

I don't think I've ever had a "Traditional Drink" unless you count Coors at a baseball game (I mean, our stadium is called Coors Field lol).

Which is sad, cause I know I'm missing out on a LOT of things :(

That said, I have had Romulan Ale before... if that counts? (It's kinda disgusting tbh)

Like 1 person likes this

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