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Rakijas and Liqueurs
If you've come to Dubrovnik and you like alcohol then be sure to try authentic Dalmatian rakijas liqueurs. These drinks have long been used for ailments – treating colds, flu and stomach pains.
Rakijas and liqueurs are today consumed in gastronomy as chilled aperitives and go excellently with smoked ham, cheese and oysters.
Travarica is a strong rakija with over 40% alcohol. It's made form various types of medicinal Dalmatian herbs. You'll recognise it by its strong yellow colour.
Pomegranate liqueur is swet and when you drink it you won't feel like it's alcohol. Many in the Dubrovnik rea make it, especially on Peljesac. The liqueurs there often win prestigious awards at international competitions.
Loquat (Nespola) is a fruit brought to Dubrovnik from the Far East that has grown well and is known for its orange fruit with a stone in the centre. The liqueur is as light as pomegranate liqueur. It has a sweet-bitter taste reminiscent of almonds which makes it popular in the local area.
Orahovica or walnut liqueur is dark in colour, sweet in flavour and used for medicinal purposes. It affects cholosterol levels and strengthens hair roots.
Provence roses have been growing in Dubrovnik gardens for centuries and its intense smell has always attracted and intoxicated. This liqueur of reddish colour is not strong and is a favourite among women. It is interesting that the old Dubrovnik people sometimes paid the Ottoman Empire in this very plant and liqueur. This liqueur is an essential ingredient in Dubrovnik Cream Torte.
BITTER ORANGE LIQUEUR
The bitter orange was brought to Dubrovni by sailors and you'll find ut at the very entrance to the city at Pile Gate. Grand Marnier, Cointreua, Curacao and Triple Sec used in cocktails are all made from it. English marmalade is also made fom the fruit. That's surely enough reason to try this medicinal liqueur. It's even good for calming nerves.
Cherry liqueur is made in a similar way to loquat liqueur. Of especially good quality are the cherries grown in the Zadar area. Liqueur cherry contains more alcohol than those with loquat and bitter orange. Just how valued it was is evidenced by the fact that it was drunk daily by French emperor Napoleon, French King Louis XVI, Russian Emperor Nicholas I and Queen Victoria. The world famous Zadar cherry liqueur Maraschino was even served on the Titanic.
You will truly love or hate this brandy because it has a specific flavour. Carob is truly at home in the Mediterranean and is mentioned in the Bible. Carob is added to drinks and used in the preparation of cakes. It is interesting that the weight of its seeds in ancient times were used for weighing gold (1 seed - 1 carat gold).
Loza is the purest and most powerful spirit and many do not like to drink because of the strong flavour and high alcohol content. It is the main component of the above-listed alcoholic beverages.
Here are some recepies if you wish to try and make your own delicious alcoholic drinks.
Take 1kg of loquat and with a knife prick it in five to six places and put them in a glass jar, sprinkle them with 1 kilogram sugar, cover the jar and put them in the garden in the sun to stand 35 to 40 days. Stir them every five days until the sugar is melted.
While that is happening, get a good local grape brandy (neutral odour) and after 40 days pour a litre of said brandy in the jar and cover to stand for 5 days in the sun. Then this divine liqueur is ready. Strain it through cheesecloth into a glass bottle and cool.
This liqueur is made in a similar way to loquat, we need 1kg of high-quality maraska cherries, 1kg of sugar and a litre of grape brandy. Put the cherries in a glass jar and sprinkle them with sugar and keep in the sun for about 10 days (stir them). Then add brandy and keep everything together for another 20 days or so and the liqueur is ready.