Make 2015 the year to slow down and take time to savour with Yeni Raki.
Aniseed drinks have garnered a slightly negative reputation in recent years. Sambucca, lined up as shots along the bar. Ouzo, the cause of an aching headache in Greece. Well now it's time to...
...and take a moment to savour Yeni Raki and its aromatic flavour profile, which deserves time. What's more, Yeni Raki is uber on-trend, as it pairs beautifully with London's cuisine-of-the-moment, meze. In Turkey, 500 year old traditions surround the rituals of drinking the refreshing anise-flavoured liquid and it's so ingrained in their culture that a whole cuisine has built up around it. Yeni Raki is always sipped and savoured slowly alongside fresh fish dishes, colourful spiced delicacies and good company. Something that is often lost in our fast-paced bars and restaurants that are frequented by iPhones and their owners.
Crucially, raki is enjoyed long, poured into a tall glass and topped up with chilled water, which turns the liquid milky. The phenomenon is often called aslan sütü,
or 'lion's milk', referring to a Turkish metaphor loosely meaning 'milk for the strong'. It's certainly a punchy drink and at Yeni Raki's launch dinner at popular London restaurant, Dabbous, we were glad for the sublime dishes prepared by Ollie to mop up our countless glasses!
In the past few years the meze scene in Turkey (particularly Istanbul) has developed, and now the stuffiness of rigid menus and traditional dishes has transformed to include regional ingredients, new interpretations of old classics and more casual raki bars. Mirroring this, Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine continues to grow in popularity in the UK, with Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour celebrated as one of the top selling books of 2014 and restaurants such as Honey & Co and Palomar drawing in curious diners. The next step is to stop, savour and enjoy these wonderful flavours with a glass (or two) of Yeni Raki.
Yeni Raki is available in Asda
for £9.27. Also, keep an eye on their website
for details of a special series of dinners at chefs tables around London.