The fruit brandy rakia may not be well known in the U.S., but it’s integral to the Balkan dining experience. To foster awareness and appreciation of the spirit, Ambar Balkan restaurant in Washington, D.C., has implemented a Rakia Tasting Challenge.
Guests that sign up for Ambar’s Rakia Tasting Challenge app can sample each of the 33 flavors listed on the rakia tasting card. After tasting each rakia, participating guests click the red “stamp me” button on the Ambar app and scan the specific QR code for that rakia; the app creates a stamp on the guest’s digital punch card.
During the tasting of all 33 varieties of rakia, participants can win a tiered level of assorted prizes over the course of the three-month program. Those who experience 1.5 oz. of all 33 rakia flavors will receive a grand prize of a personalized special 750-ml. bottle of rakia, which will be housed in a private locker for enjoying at Ambar Capitol Hill.
Popular in Central and Southeastern Europe, rakia is produced by distilling fermented plums or apricots, apples, as well as unique varietals made from cherry, pear and even honey. Ambar’s menu offers classic versions of rakia, which has an average alcohol content of 40%, priced from $9 to $10 per serving. The Rakia Tasting Challenge started on Oct. 14 and runs through Jan. 14, 2022, which is Serbian New Year’s Eve.