Friday, 31 October 2008

Rakia Colour (USA Color) - How it is achieved

Rakia Colour (USA Color) - How it is achievedRakia colour (USA color), how is it achieved? Why do Bulgarians do it? The thousands upon thousand of litres of Rakia that is distilled in Bulgaria comes out with no colour at all, it is crystal clear. So the colour that Rakia is normally associated with is another process, another tradition and another fascinating process that takes place through natural resources.

There are many secret way of colouring Rakia after it is brought home from the Rakia house. Some even start the process in the Rakia house; I have actually seen this happen. So how do they do it and what do they use?

Rakia Colour (USA Color) - How it is achievedTo most home made Rakia it is s simple process of taking some mulberry wood, splitting it up into short sticks and placing a few in the rakia while it is in bulk storage fo around the initial six weeks. Depending on the variety of mulberry, the number of sticks and the length of time in the Rakia will determine how light or dark the Rakia will be. There is close to clear Rakia in the commercial market but the vast majority of Bulgarian home Rakia distillers opt for some form of darkening the spirit, most with the mulberry method.

Many secret ways of doing this can only be guessed at. No doubt many generations of experimentation have found a suitable formula and method. They may use different types of wood, caramel colouring that is used in beer making or even herbal tea. I know that many use aromatic herbs, not only for enhanced aroma, but giving for a slight colouring in the process.

Although they say there is no difference in taste with the infusion of wood I actually disagree with that. The longer the wood is in the Rakia the darker it gets, therefore to my mind the flavour will be affected. My reasons for believing this are that any spirit that matures in contact with wood must gives an additional woody element to the taste, spirits stored in oak barrels are my prime example.

Rakia Colour (USA Color) - How it is achievedIt is a fact that the different shades of Rakia colour are just as different in each Rakia as in the taste and people would also have a tendency to favour either the lighter or darker Rakia and make their own accordingly.

My own Rakia is still going through the experimentation process. Last year I made some very dark Rakia and some light Rakia, I have put a photograph shown at the top of this article, showing the difference between the two. I infused the mulberry wood both over a long and a short period for each respective Rakia. My own preference is for lighter version in appearance but the darker one tastes better with more going on taste wise. Again, another hands on evidence that leads me to believe the wood affects the quality of the Rakia.

In addition to the wood, there are many other processes practiced, but my own method is under my hat for the moment. This process I believe affect both taste and colour and I will leave it there for you to guess.

Any other contributions from readers who know of some methods used to colour, please do share them.

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