Rakı is a non-sweet, aniseed-flavored spirit which originated in Turkey. Various similar alcoholic beverages can be found in the Mediterranean and Balkan areas.

In the Ottoman Empire until the nineteenth century, meyhanes (traditional Turkish restaurants) run by Turks and Albanians were mainly devoted to serving wine along with meze, due to religious restrictions imposed by various Sultans. Although there were many Muslims among those attending meyhanes, Sharia authorities sometimes imposed criminal charges. With the relatively liberal atmosphere of the Tanzimat era (1839-1876), the meyhane attendance among Muslims rose considerably, and Raki became a favorite among attendees. At the end of the century, Raki took its current standard form and it changed to the present form and overtake n wine in popularity . Now Raki is considered Turkey’s national drink.

Raki is usually mixed with an equal part of water. When water is added, the mixture turns a whitish color (louche effect), which is where the drink gets its famous nickname, Aslan sutu, which means “lion’s milk”.

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