How to drink raki: A crash course in Turkey’s signature drink
By Talya Arditi, for CNN
5 minute read
4:24 AM EST, Tue December 29, 2015
Raki etiquette —
Raki -- otherwise known as Lion's Milk -- is the Turkish national drink. Made of twice-distilled grapes and aniseed, raki is the go-to spirit for a celebration. It's good etiquette to clink the bottoms of your glasses when toasting with raki.
How to order —
A group of first-timers should ask for a 35-centiliter bottle of raki -- one-third of a liter -- and tell the waiter you each want a tek (4cl) -- about one shot. Raki is always served with chilled water, although some fans say ice diminishes the flavor of the drink.
Soak it up —
You're not going to want to drink it on an empty stomach. Meze platters are a great way to soak up the powerful raki (45% alcohol) throughout the night.
First course —
Feta and melons are the first meze to appear at a raki gathering. You don't even have to order them.
Fasil ekibi —
Many Turkish taverns feature a fasıl ekibi, a band of male musicians who play traditional tunes on instruments such as the ney (a reed flute), a saz or a kanun (both string instruments). A raki-fueled night often ends with people dancing on tables and chairs.
Locksmith's Table —
On some nights, the raki gathering becomes a kind of group therapy session. Friends gather around a cilingir sofrasi. The so-called "locksmith's table" is renowned for unlocking the secrets of any heart.
How to drink raki: A crash course in Turkey's signature drink