Rakia » Rakija | 93 Kvalitetna šljivovica je jedno od najboljih svetskih pića, a Branko rakija je moj doprinos novoj generaciji šljivovica jer se pije sa ledom High-quality šljivovica is one of the world’s best drinks and “Branko” rakia is my contribution to the new generation of šljivovica, because it is drunk with ice SE R B I A AMONG P LUMS If truth is inwine, then freedom is in rakia Consumer society is showing noticeable fatigue from serial productions, but also a hunger for products that are original, exclusive and domestic. Serbian rakia satisfies all of these criteria There has never been a Serbia that hasn’t been overhung by the good shadowof the bruise-blue plum, this sacred tree towhich the Serb returns when he toasts the beginning of a new life and when he drinks for a departed soul to rest in peace. ere is a belief among the Serbian people that the best spot to lay the foundations of a new house is where a plum tree produces abundant yields. It is believed that such a house will always bring luck to its inhabitants and will exude health and progress. When those noble plums were used to distil rakia, the head of the household would don a clean, flawlessly ironed shirt and cover his head with a new šajkača cap. Such is the importance of the place that plums and plumrakia have always had in the culture, tradition and daily life of the Serbian nation. Since time immemorial, good rakia has been kept in buried barrels in the homes of those that produce it, while it has also been the most valued gift for important guests. Recipes have been passed down from generation to generation, while healing folk remedies remain popular today. Yellow gentian rakia cures gout, wormwood rakia is used to treat stomachproblems, and walnut rakia cures thyroid gland infections. All those who’ve used komina grape rakia to treat a fever should know that their cold compressed gauzes were soaked in grappa, which is today a popular Italian digestif. e very word rakia is derived from the Arabic words “al rak”, so it is presumed to have entered the Serbian lexicon as a result of Turkish influence. Precisely when alcoholic spirits began being produced in our country has not been confirmed. Much time has passed from the old Slavic mead to modern fruit rakias. What is known for certain is that the first major rakia production and its development into a national drink is linked to the 19th century and the Šumadija region. Serbian plum rakia gained a great reputation during the reign of Prince Miloš Obrenović and was served at imperial and royal courts throughout Europe. But is rakia more than a myth and a folk remedy? Is it only enjoyed alongside appetisers and coffee, or can it even be served with ice? Which is the best type? Where does it stand today and how is it perceived by younger consumers who didn’t spend their childhoods in a village next to a still? e answers to all these questions, as well as many others, are best known by the lover of good rakia and veritable rakia missionary that is Branko Nešić, a man whose goal is to teach the whole world about all the charms of this Serbian firewater. It was 15 years ago, in the very heart of Belgrade, next door to the National eatre, that he opened the Rakia Bar, which converted many guests of the capital from whisky lovers to rakia lovers. is warm, intimate venue has also become a gift shop that nurtures the concept of small gifts in the formof completely original, traditional Serbian flavours. ere are