I do not drink heavy alcohol. I never drank cognac, whisk(e)y, snaps and I still don’t.
But since I live on Crete I love Raki! Raki on Crete is not the same as Raki in Turkey! The right name of Raki in Greece is “Tsikoudia”. It is made from the grapes after harvesting the wine yards and pressing the juice.
There are not many distilleries on Crete allowed to burn Tsikoudia. The government does not give any more licence and the ones who own one are only allowed to pass it on to their children or grandchildren.
Raki/Tsikoudia is a traditional Cretan brandy but well-known all over Crete. On the island most people prefer Raki rather than Ouzo as we all know this anise brandy from our local restaurants. If you go out for dinner you order Raki for all your friends.
It is good as aperitif, digestive, it helps when you catched a cold, when you have pain in the back, it is even used by the old women for cupping! And, believe it or not, I even used it to clean the iron on the bottom when other alcohol didn’t do the job – but this is another story…
Rakomelo is a mix of Tsikoudia with honey. Everybody has his own recipe, but believe me, the one of my husband is the best I ever tasted! So here is how it is prepared:
What you need:
1 l Tsikoudia
1 cinnamon stick
1-2 tsp. tea leaves (Sage or Cretan Mountain Tea)
How to prepare it:
In a water boiler or a small pot heat appr. 1/4 of the Tsikoudia. Do not bring to boil!
Pour it into a container and add the cinnamon stick and the cloves. Give some leaves into a tea bag and add it to the Tsikoudia. Let stand for a few hours or overnight.
Remove the tea and the spices and heat the Tsikoudia again without boiling. Add honey to your taste (I use appr. 100-150 ml) and stir until the honey dissolved. Add the rest of the Tsikoudia and fill into a well closing bottle.
You can drink your Rakomelo right away. It tastes warm, room tempered and ice-cold.
If you let stand the Rakomelo for a while there will be some dust sitting on the bottom of the bottle. This is nothing bad! It is from the honey and the spices. Simply decant the Rakomelo into an other bottle.