October is the month that, all over Crete, is taking place the distillation of raki.
Raki is an alcoholic drink produced by distillation of grape pomace. The word is Turkish, originated from the Arabic "arak" and variations of the same drink are popular all over the Balkans, Turkey and Iran, although each region has its own "recipe".
Last year I wrote this post, where you can read all about the procedure and the importance that this drink has, for the locals.
Today I am sharing the pictures of a similar alembic but much larger and a little "improved" with some facilities around it, although the essence of it's operation is just the same.
I am borrowing my words from last year's post:
The first material is, of course, grapes which are squeezed by feet inside a built container. Most of the juice goes for wine-making (that's another post) while the rest along with the stems and the skins are kept into barrels for, at least, two months for brewing.
The distillation is done in wood fired copper alembics, usually on a field where there is a built base and a rough shelter (in case of rain). Since it takes all day long or many days, depending on the quantity of the stems and the capacity of the alembic, it is a great excuse for people to come over and have a small fiesta with plenty of food and fresh "raki".
The main differences in this one, apart from the size, are that it is burning crushed olive pits, instead of wood and that there is a small building around it, instead of a rough shelter. The whole set up can be described as semi-professional although the professional ones are huge in comparison to that!
As you can see no matter how improved the alembic is, it still takes a lot of labor for the job to be done!
And a few details to give you the mood!
The boiled stems and skins will go to the fields as fertilizer and the fresh raki home for consumption!
Thank you for reading and if you want to know more about me you can check out my introduction post.
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