Traditional distillation of Cretan tsikoudia – raki

The custom of “rakokazano” (distilling boiler) was instituted by Eleftherios Venizelos in 1920. Farmers were given special permits to help them financially through the production of tsikoudia.

The raw material used in the rakokazano is “tsikouda” or “strafila” (grape pomace), remains of grapes pressed in winemaking. As the cauldron begins boiling, the steam produced becomes liquid and then comes out drop by drop as protoraki (the first batch of raki), a strong spirit with a very high alcohol content. As the distillation continues, tsikoudia reaches the proper degrees until it gets to about 18 degrees when the cauldron “turns off”.

The sweet-smelling tsikoudia, still steaming, sets the tone for high jinks and a unique feast. Cretan tsikoudia is not just a local product. It is the identity of a culture and expresses Cretan hospitality.

If you visit Crete and are not treated to tsikoudia, it is as if you have never visited it. In every corner of Crete, every kafeneion (traditional coffee shop), every yard, every doorstep and every house, you will surely meet some Cretan who wants to treat you to a shot of tsikoudia. That is how the magical journey to Crete starts, with just one motto: raki brings people closer.

You should be feeling extremely lucky if you have the chance to live the experience of a rakokazano at a cold winter night, as you will have the opportunity to smell and taste the intense aromas of tsikoudia that will stun you and make your mind wandering to the sounds of Cretan traditional music and the laughter of the dear company.

Staying at Stefanos Villas during the period of rakokazano, you will have the opportunity to visit and experience a unique Cretan hospitality experience, while tasting the traditional Cretan spirit at the very time of its making!