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Can you say: Šljivovica? You won’t after few sips…

Last summer, I managed to distill around 60 liters of this unique hard liquor (Šljivovica). It was a fun experience! Can thank two best varieties of plums I have in my orchard and optimal distilling process for yielding such an exceptional taste of Šljivovica, the most famous and notorious type of liquor in Croatia and a few surrounding countries.
We even coined a simple saying about it…

Come to Croatia -Rakija Šljivovica
Come to Croatia -Rakija Šljivovica

Red Bull gives you wings but rakija gives you a four-wheel drive.

Your question is legit.

What the hell is “rakija”?

You could get a sense from my opening lines. It’s the type of hard liquor you get from distilling properly fermented fruits like plums, grapes, apples, peaches and similar. Šljivovica is the variety of rakija you get from distilling plums exclusively.

What’s plum in English is šljiva in Croatian. Ergo the logic behind the name.

Wherever you go in Croatia, expect your host to offer you a shot of rakija.

Croatian Sljivovica
Croatian Sljivovica

Around the coast, especially in Dalmatia all the way down to Dubrovnik, you can expect the variety called “Loza.” It’s the distilled fermented remnants of grapes you get after pushing the grapes through the mill to squeeze out the juice.

In continental Croatia, however, the most common aperitif is Šljivovica.

A thing or two to know about Šljivovica before taking the first shot

A sort of cheat sheet if you wish:

  • Go easy or you’ll find out firsthand how Šljivovica is giving a four-wheel drive to a careless fully-grown adult.

You’ll wake up at the strange, unknown place, most likely naked and with vomit all over yourself and won’t have a clue of how you got there or what the hell happened last night. It happened to every Croat at least once in the lifetime and it’s not amusing as it sounds, believe you me.

Varoius Types of Rakija
Varoius Types of Rakija
  • Whenever possible, avoid drinking warm Šljivovica.

It can trigger all sorts of unwanted reactions from awkward facial expressions that will definitely amuse the others to strong gastric reaction and heartburn especially if your stomach is empty and you’re not used to rakija in general. It’s not the rule but still, a fair heads-up. My late grandfather, for example, just like thousands of others here in Croatia, preferred having almost a boiling shot of Šljivovica in the early morning during cold winter days because it warms the body in an instant. Trust me, it’s not for anyone but it does warm up the body at the unbelievable speed.

  • The best moment to have a shot is right before you’ll have the first spoon of hot soup.

This is experience talking. Although, you won’t make a mistake if you take a shot at any given moment. Rakija is much more than an aperitif. It’s kind of a culture of living if you can believe that.

  • The optimal number of shots before you get a four-wheel-drive really depends on how good you’re tolerating alcohol in general.

Trust me, body weight has nothing to do with it because I saw more than once how a skeleton-looking old man is still pouring the shots down his throat while the young 220-pounder is lying down under the table completely wasted and unconscious.

  • Šljivovica is really appreciated in Nordic states.

For instance, there’s a Šljivovica party every Friday all across Sweden. The reason why they love it is its unique taste and the fact that the single shot will warm your body faster than an open fire.

  • Before purchasing Šljivovica, either taste a sample or consult with a local you trust.

If both options fail, call us and we’ll point you in the right direction. Unfortunately, my stash is long gone and this year I won’t be distilling anything because late spring frost took its toll.
The reason why you want to taste or consult before you spend a few Euros on a bottle of this fine beverage is the fact that some folks are A) adding too much sugar which will cause severe headache when you wake up the next day, and B) pushing the envelope with the distilling process in a desperate attempt to yield high quantities. The result is piss, honestly. So be smart and call us.

We’ll get you the kind of Šljivovica you’ll truly enjoy.

See you in Croatia!


Your CTC Team, I.K.

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