As seasoned travellers we are always willing to try new things, be it leaping off of bridges with a bit of stretchy cable lassoed around your ankles or jumping out of a perfectly sound airplane, even being chased by bulls through the streets of Pamplona seems to be okay for some. However one thing that makes me shiver with dread is the after dinner shot that is often served up by well meaning waiters, usually in a plain container with no reference to its origin and strength, or the hooch that is passed around as a local specialty and ends up giving me the mother of all hangovers.
I am currently in Crete dealing with Raki but have endured some equally throat constricting liquors through my travels around the world. What follows is a short guide to some of the more popular firewaters and their origins.
1. Raki /Tsikoudia: Greece, mostly Crete
This awesome kicker is made from the waste products of winemaking and is very strong, served often in little decanters it will give you a good throat burn so is best drunk with the melon or other fruits that accompany it. The Greek/Cretan Raki is different to the Turkish one as it is colourless and has no anise added. It seems that this drink has been drunk in the region though the ages in some form or other which would explain a lot!
Pain factor: 9/10