11 Popular Macedonian Drinks
There is a saying in the Balkans that in Macedonia, you can find different cuisine in every region. The food is an indicator of the primordial centuries-old tradition, transmitted and upgraded from generation to generation by hardworking farmers.
The same can be said of their drinks. From the famous “grape rakija” to the beautiful and nutritious “compote”, you can find many different beverages that are unique to this region.
Here are the top 11 most popular Macedonian drinks.
Boza is an Oriental fermented drink made of water, flour, sugar, and yeast. It is popular in the whole of the Balkans and Turkey. In Macedonia, you can buy this drink everywhere on the streets. There’s a saying in Macedonia that when something is easy to do, they say, “Easy as boza”.
It makes life better, especially in summer. Also, a huge tip: boza is best when combined with baklava. People often drink it combined with blueberry juice, creating a heavenly combination of tastes.
Bunar is a popular Macedonian drink. While the world has punch, Macedonians have bunar. The word “bunar” in Macedonian means “water well”.
It is white wine, soda, and different fruit mixes (of your choice), all mixed up in a large jar. It’s served cold and is usually drank in the summer. It has a beautiful light and pleasant taste and is easy to prepare. It’s an affordable yet delicious and refreshing beverage, and best of all, you can create it yourself.
3. Compote with Quince and Apples
Another traditional Macedonian drink, this one is synonymous with autumn. It’s sugared water in which quince and apples are boiled. It is the best enjoyed at home, under a blanket on cold and windy autumn days.
4. Lozova Rakija
Rakija is a fruit brandy that was invented in the Balkans. Lozova (grape) rakija is the Macedonian type of rakija. It is white in color, but by adding bark from a plum tree or cherry tree, it can be naturally colored yellow. The first step in producing rakia is crushing, draining, and pressing the grapes. The rest (solid part) that contains the seeds, skin, and stems of the fruit is called a pomace (komina).
The process of fermenting the grapes lasts at least 60 warm autumn days. When the grapes “lie” at the bottom of the barrel, it means that they are fermented. There’s a whole region in Macedonia that is famous for making the best rakija in the world, the “Tikvesh” region.
It cannot be understated how popular lozova rakija is in Macedonia. It bonds people, and everyone drinks it, young and old.
It is a tradition in Macedonia when preparing wine to keep several bottles of unfermented grape juice and drink it as juice on the same day or the next because the process of fermentation of the juice is very fast.
This juice is called “shira”, in English, “must”. Unlike commercially sold grape juice, which is filtered and pasteurized, shira is thick with particulate matter, opaque, and comes in various shades of brown and purple.
Vishnovka is an old Macedonian alcoholic beverage made from rakia and sour cherries. It has a pleasant taste and aroma and is reminiscent of cherry brandy. Women especially love it!
With the healing properties of the cherries, this beverage is relatively healthy, if you drink it in moderation!
Macedonian mastika is a drink that’s enjoyed by many. It’s affordable and pairs well with almost any food. Apart from being enjoyed as a drink, people often use industrial-produced mastika for massages, as it relieves pressure from the body and can ease up joint pain.
Domestic mastika is also used for relieving stomach pain and for respiratory problems since it’s made with the herb “anise” known for its healing properties.
Due to the anise, mastika has a distinct menthol taste that might put some people off. The menthol taste and its milky white texture makes Macedonian mastika similar in taste to Greek ouzo. If you’ve never drunk mastika, you might need to get used to its flavor. But it will soon become a steady companion due to it pairing perfectly with all sorts of foods, such as cheese or salads.
Orahovac or walnut brandy doesn’t contain much alcohol, so it can hardly be called a liqueur. Generally, walnuts are very beneficial; the tincture of green walnuts strengthens hair roots, the oil is used for tanning the skin with sunscreen, and the fruit is good against gastritis and fat in the blood.
A brandy can’t be bad if it is prepared from such a miraculously healthy herb. It has a darker brown color whose intensity depends on how long the nuts stand in brandy, and the taste is bittersweet.
This is a classic alcoholic drink found throughout all the former Yugoslav countries. This is the basic type of rakija that no one in the Balkans can live without. It’s plum brandy with a high percentage of alcohol. Often this brandy is strong, with no color and a fragrance reminiscent of pure alcohol. As it reaches the stomach, you can feel the real plum spreading its heat throughout the body.
It helps with abdominal pain, especially if you have eaten something fatty or that upsets your stomach; the plum breaks up all harmful substances in a second. However, be careful! The hangover from this beverage is horrendous.
10. Thyme Tea
The common Macedonian name for this drink is “Majchina dushica” (mother’s soul): a beautiful name for a beautiful tea. This tea is consumed in every household, especially as a remedy when someone is sick.
Thyme is one of Macedonia’s most commonly used herbs: It’s used for almost everything, from treating colds to killing microbes. Majchina dusica also has an antiseptic effect; it’s effective for spasms (cramps) and bronchial diseases. Also, it’s successfully used against coughs. Because it tastes good and smells nice, children gladly drink it.
No list of Macedonian drinks is complete without this drink made from grapes. Wine is one of the country’s most popular and exported drinks. It’s an absolute favorite and a daily driver for many people. Several companies produce magnificent wines that Macedonians, as well as foreigners, enjoy.
My favorite? Temjanika white wine, made by Bovin. During the summer, it brings a smile to your face and is easy on the stomach.
Up For Some Drinks?
Grab some rakija or some tasty wine next time you’re in the country. See what the hype is about. I have a feeling you won’t be disappointed.
Related: Most Popular Foods in Macedonia
Related: Most Popular Macedonian Desserts