Young duo, and co-founders of DNA Distillery, Monique Sutevski and James Projcevski are bringing the popular Balkan and Slavic drink they call ‘rakija’ (pronounced ‘ra-ki-ja’) to Sydney, opening the first distillery of its kind in the city.
You might know it by a number of other names – grappa, moonshine, ouzo, or even arak. And even if you haven’t, you’ll want to treat your tastebuds to a glass of the good stuff, or even sneak it into your next cocktail.
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Distilled from fermented fruit, DNA Distillery’s rakija is made from old and full-bodied Australian shiraz and sourced from the Hilltops region in Southern NSW. DNA Distillery is launching two varieties — Classic and Gold. The former is “clear, delicate on the palate and has a crisp fresh finish” and the latter, according to the co-founders, is a “slightly richer, slightly better-looking cousin of the classic variety. It’s more full-bodied with a subtle sweet undertone.
The duo’s venture started when Sutevski told her cousin, Projcevski, that she wanted to put her legal career on hold with aspirations of making rakija. And for the pair, there’s a lot of inspiration close to home.
“It just made sense. Our family has been making rakija for five generations, it’s something we’ve been surrounded by our whole lives. It felt familiar and right. Gin has become so popular, why couldn’t we do the same with rakija?” says Projcevski.
DNA Distillery wants to change the way we drink. They say it starts with cracking open a bottle of rakija made with generations of love.
“Our Dedo’s recipe was so famous in the village that people would travel by foot for the chance to taste it. That’s a lot to live up to,” says Projcevski.
For the pair, it’s all about keeping their family traditions alive and they’re heavily involved in every step of the process. Only fittingly, the wine is distilled using a specialty still flown in from Poland. You won’t find any pesticides or chemicals being used on the vines. The grapes are handpicked, sorted and fermented naturally, then distilled again to ensure maximum quality.
As to how you should enjoy rakija, well that’s up to you! The tasty spirit is a versatile alcohol suitable for almost any cocktail and even better neat. Essentially that means you’ve got the green light to experiment how you like.
So with the pandemic’s ongoing lockdowns and restrictions, why not grab yourself a bottle of DNA Distillery’s rakija for your next Friday night drinks. We’re really excited to taste a beverage made with generations of love. DNA Distillery’s rakija retails at $69.00 per bottle. You can grab yours here.