It came from the Turks, but still brandy or rakija [raki-ya], raki, is a cult drink in Serbs. The Serbian Slivotiz has become a registered brand. Brandy is an alcoholic beverage, made through distillation of a mixture of crushed good and ripe damson plums which have undergone a fermentation process for at least three weeks. The production or the distillation process is done in special pot stills and other necessary equipment. Raki can be made of other sorts of fruit: pears, apples, quince, apricots… That made of grapes is called lоzоvаčа (Serb. loza – vine) or kоmоvicа, when made of rape, the refuse of grapes left after the extraction of the juice in winemaking.


The word rаkiја comes from Arabic, al arak, or Turkish ra’ki, or Hungarian pаlјinkа ( palinka); Arabic, arak – sweat, juice coming from anything sqeezed or pressed. The Serb. verb, rаkiјаti, means to drink brandy, usually in larger amounts.


In Serbs, brandy is consumed on any important occasions – when a baby is born,  when one is getting married, on celebrations, when one dies and at funerals.


Almost every husband in Serbia has his own, homemade brandy, claiming his is the best.


The brandy the Arabs obtained from palm sap and fermented rice (аrаk, mаstikа) has been known in Europe since the early 16th century as it was brought by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English after establishing colonies in East India and the Malay archipelago. It came to this country a bit earlier, brought by the Turks, hence rаki. In the Constantine Philosoph records it is mentioned as the fiery wine.  Since the 16th century it appears in the folk epic songs, often along with the wine, as the only drink a hero consumes (Well, he drinks both brandy and wine!)