Raki is a Turkish liqueur, an anisette, the unoffical spirit of the nation. Yeni’s raki is produced by twice distilling twenty different kinds of grape pomace, and/or raisins, most originating from Western Anatolia.
Raki is usually infused with two things:
- A bit of suma, also known as “Brazilian ginseng,” although it has no relationship to last decade’s fad-health root
- Its dominant taste, though, is anise seed, which gives it a “liquorice” flavor.
The choice of suma in a spirit follows the root’s traditional medicinal roots: It was used to help relieve stress, and improve the immune system. It was also believed to be an aphrodisiac, and a male potency enhancer.
Anise is a flavor, in alcohol, relished by peoples from the top of the world to the Mediterranean.
Yeni is the top producer of raki in Turkey. A family-owned business, it has produced the liqueur for more than 70 years.
Raki is most often mixed with water; causing it to turn a bit milky-white in color. It is traditionally served with Meze, Turkish tapas.
Raki is useful in any cocktail recipe calling for an anisette.
- Pineapple-raki sour;
- Turkish Cosmopolitan;
- Ottoman’s Bazaar;
- Lion’s Milk.
- Chet’s Char – Gravlax infused with fennel, white pepper, Yeni Raki, and tangerine zest;
- GingerTurks – A dark gingerbread cookie infused with Raki;
- 1/4 part raki to 1 part rum added to Eggnogs;
- Marinate fennel bulb slices in a mix of raki, sugar, and vinegar as a digestive pickle side.
Yeni’s Raki is probably the most globally distributed, and hence the easiest to find, if you don’t live in range of Turkey, or a liquor store run by Turks. We find that it compares favorably to any other global anisette liqueur that you might have tried.
It’s a bit thinner than Akvavit, but more fragrant, and draws heavily on its grape base to soften the anise. Unlike its Scandavian cousin, or revenge, both best served cold, it’s a drink that is usually enjoyed at room temperature.
It’s also great to cook with! Where you need that anise taste, it’s your go-to in the kitchen.
It’s not as magic as Külüp Rakı, which is more costly. It compares favorably against Yeşil Efe Raki, or Tekirdağ Rakısı. It draws our Choicestuff Four-Diamond rating.