Rakia Making Day in Yambol

Today was the yearly trip to the Rakia house to make the spirit that runs through Bulgarian's veins. Normally it is done in my village of Skalista, but this year I was to attend a Yambol Rakia House.

The night before everything was prepared as I had to be there at 6:00 in the morning, this is the busiest tome of the year and the only time I could get. Five leva was paid as a deposit for the reservation and ten leva to be paid on the day of distilling. The price of fifteen lva is the same as it was in Skalitsa two years ago, quite suprising with inflation running so high in the country at the moment.

The routine was very much the same, the only difference was that there were ten distilling units in the house rather than the two or three in the villages. There were also, multiple parties of eating and drinking rather than one.

The interaction and communication between the individual Rakia makers was buzzing, normal in Bulgaria, every one helps everyone else. In fact what I noticed was that I was the only person distilling on my own. Every other distiller had a partner or two helping, either family, a friend, there were many wives there bring in the wood for the fires, well, that's what they do at home I suppose.

Rakia Making Day in YambolThe whole process took 5 hours from start to finish and many tips were picked up on methods used and additional components added to the wine and subsequently the Rakia. In fact do many tips it is impossible to take them all up. Everyone tells me that they make the best grape Rakia, so which is the best of the best?This time round I just stuck to basics taught to me originally in Skalitsa which of course is a secret!

Throughout my time in the Rakia house, there was no shortage of conversation, and help which made the experience in Yambol a new but most enjoyable one with new friends made.

At the end of the day there is now some 30 litres of Rakia graded at 50% proof, more than enough to see through to next autumn where the process will run again.

If you want to find out more about what happened during the process, read the account on The Rakia Site.