Yeni Rakı is a hugely popular Mediterranean drink and it’s not an over statement to say it plays an important part in contemporary Turkish culture. As stated in a recent article on CNN about Turkey and the culture surrounding Yeni Rakı,”The mesmerizing, aniseed scented concoction heals the heart and soothes the mind.” But this didn’t happen overnight.
Rakı as a drink has been in the Turkish consciousness for over 500 years. Distilled using grapes, raisins and aniseed, Rakı has a heritage dating back to 1510. It was a favourite during the ruling of Ottoman Empire and more recently in 1937 it became known as Yeni Rakı meaning “New Rakı” to symbolize the beginning of a new era.
The Ottoman’s served the original Rakı with mezze dishes and this food tradition has continued to develop – so much so that now when you talk of Yeni Rakı you instantly associate it with food and the Rakı Table. To sit at the Rakı Table is to talk with friends, eat delicious mezze dishes and drink Yeni Rakı over many hours. Very few other drinks inspire such a respect of tradition and carry such an enduring ritual as the Rakı table.