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Sunday 17 April 2016

Whisky, vodka and gin are old hat. Now Australia has its first rakia

Australian artisans have enjoyed huge recent success with whiskies, gins, vodkas and other spirits. Now an enterprising pair of Adelaide brothers has launched the country's first rakia. 

Rakia originates from the Balkans region of Eastern Europe and is a fruit brandy. It is widely considered to be the national drink of Macedonia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia. 

Now Jon and Con Lioulios have distilled and launched the only new-age rakia to be licensed and sold in Australia; 36 Short.

The name is a tribute to Jon and Con’s Macedonian-born father, Pando, who bought the recipe to Australia almost 50 years ago. It refers, somewhat obscurely, to his suit size.

The Lioulios brothers are primarily known for their successful, fresh, vegetable produce business Quality Lines, but have branched out in a new direction.

Con Lioulios said: “Recent trends and statistics tell us that young and old people alike are experimenting with spirits and liquors more than ever before and we wanted to share our very own rakia with their sophisticated palates."

“Dad dedicated a lot of time, energy, love and patience to distilling, and with four generations who all had the same passion for distilling rakia preceding him, now it is our turn to do the same.”

So how to use this mysterious spirit? 

“Rakia can be served straight before a meal and be accompanied with pickled vegetables as well as cured and barbequed meats," says John Lioulios. "Our white Rakia can be used to make various cocktails."

Yes, you read that right. Not content with making on rakia; the brothers have made both a white and a gold version, both made from grape juice distilled with star anise.

The White is viscous and refreshing with a hint of aniseed, smooth, refreshing ideal for cocktails, while the aged gold is more complex and spicy and ideal for enjoying on the rocks. Neither is for the faint-hearted. Both weigh in at 45% alcohol. 

Individually bottled and batched, the rakia is hand finished with the closure dipped in a glossy wax, which I found fiddly and annoying. It should probably be re-thought.

Both 36 Short White and Gold have recommended retail prices of $70 and are available online at as well as selected bottle shops, hotels and bars in Adelaide including Electra House, Edinburgh Cellars, Udaberri, Mr. Good Bar and Thrift Shop.

1 comment:

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