Every place has something that they can call uniquely theirs. For Crete, this specialty comes in the form of the delicious mixed drink, Rakomelo. Originating in Cretan homes as a remedy for coughs and sore throats, this drink has become well-loved by both locals and visitors who want to experience a staple of Greek life.
What is Rakomelo?
Considered high in antioxidants and good for digestion, the Rakomelo is still high in alcohol content and rich in flavour. The famous is drink is made by combining Raki, a grape flavoured brandy with honey and warm spices like cardamom, cinnamon and local herbs.
Additionally, it is often made with cloves and best suited for chilly weather and in the evenings. However, during the summer, it is served chilled on ice. Drinkers will find that the taste is subtly sweet and natural with a tinge of spice to the aftertaste.
How Rakomelo is made
It can be made at home by adding 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey to every four shots of raki and adding a teaspoon of cinnamon and a clove for taste.
This popular drink can be dated back as far as the 12th century and legend has it that Rakomelo was first drank while the Peloponnese peninsula endured the occupation of the Frankish.
However, others believe that it got its origin on Crete and the Cyclades islands. During this time, alcohol distillation was introduced and as per the European habit of adding medicinal drinks to alcohol, the Rakomelo was born. Part of the reason for the drink’s popularity is that the Greek government once gave distilleries incentives to produce in order to drive in additional income.
Where to drink Rakomelo?
If you are visiting Greece, especially Crete and want to treat your palate to an authentic local taste, pop into a traditional Cretan restaurant and make sure to order this traditional cocktail.
Try it cold and hot just to make sure you have experienced all the flavors of the beloved Rakomelo.