Psimeni Raki

Making Raki is traditional in Amorgos and Naxos. It’s probably due to the Cretan origin of the locals. Especially in mountainous Naxos, Raki is still produced the traditional way.

To make Raki, you utilize the residue of the grapes pressed for wine. The residue of the pressed grapes are placed in a special pan called a Harani. This pan goes over the fire and the contents are brought to a boil. As the alcohol vapor passes through the funnel, it cools and the distillate is collected in large jars.
The whole Raki making process is cause for a celebration.  It takes place between treats of wine, Raki, fragrant baked clams on coals and endless songs to the accompaniment of bagpipes, toumpakiou, violin, and lute.
Normally the celebration lasts all day. Today the largest amount of Raki that is consumed locally is imported from other areas that produce it.
From ancient times the inhabitants of Amorgos and the other minor Cycladic islands have made a traditional drink called “Psimeni Raki” which was offered to to their friends and loved ones, and also to  guests at the weddings of their children.
Amorgos is the only place that still produces Psimeni Raki. The Psimeni Raki sometimes is offered as an apperitif and sometimes as a digestive, but mostly as an offering at parties and gatherings.
Psimeni Raki is unique, both for it’s distinct flavor and syrupy sweetness that leaves the palate quickly but can inebriate equally as fast.  Somehow the potency of the alcohol is increased by combining it with abundant sweetness.
Many people confuse Rakomelo with Psimeni Raki. Although they have similar ingredients, they are totally different drinks. Psimeni Raki is a kind of local homemade liquor available in the monastery of Chozoviotissa and in all the homes on the island.

Ingredients:Psimeni Raki

1 pound Raki
1 cup honey
½ cup sugar
2-3 cinnamon sticks

Whole Cloves or 1 tsp. Sweet Anise

Directions:

Put the Raki, honey and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. In another saucepan put a glass of water, cloves or a teaspoon of sweet anise and cinnamon sticks and boil for some time.

Remove the herbs and add water to Raki allowing it to boil. Some also add a small glass of cognac for flavor.

When cooled, bottle the liquid and put a cinnamon stick in each bottle

Tsipouro (Greek: Τσίπουρο) is a distilled alcoholic beverage, more precisely a pomace brandy, from Greece and in particular Thessaly (Tsipouro Tyrnavou), Epirus, Macedonia, Mani Peninsula and the island of Crete, where the same spirit with a stronger aroma is known as tsikoudia. Tsipouro is a strong distilled spirit containing approximately 45 percent alcohol by volume and is produced from the pomace (the residue of the wine press). In other areas of Greece, the name raki is used from which the term rakizio or rakario is derived, used to refer to the drink’s distillation process, often the occasion for a celebration among family and friends.

According to the tradition, the first production of tsipouro was the work of some Greek Orthodox monks. This occurred during the 14th century on Mount Athos in Macedonia, Greece. Gradually, this idea of using the must left over from the wine-making process in order to produce a distilled spirit was passed to viticulturists in poorer regions of the whole country, which already used the distillation process for other purposes. Thus, tsipouro was born

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