Making jams and compotes to stock up for the cold weather is one way to take advantage of the fruits that are at their peak right now. Alcoholic beverages can also be made of summer juicy fruits that can be stored for when it gets cold outside. The most common fruits Romanians use for these drinks are:
- sour cherries or visine make Visinata, (dried plums or prunes for Tuica or Palinca that is made slightly different and will not be presented here). These drinks are traditional Romanian alcoholic beverages.
- blueberries or afine make Afinata,
- apricots or caise make Caisata,
- and some people use other fruits like peaches, strawberries, or raspberries to make individual or mixed drinks.
All these beverages are produced with sugar and alcohol and are all – natural depending on the type of alcohol used. They are flavorful, sweet, an easy to make. They have no specific recipes. No matter what fruit you decide to use for your drink the steps are pretty much the same. The quantities and the preparation methods are different according to own’s taste.
The drinks are usually homemade in small quantities to suit the needs of a family. Large glass jugs are filled halfway with equal quantities of fruits and sugar that are layered starting with a fruit layer and ending with a sugar layer. The mixture is covered with a folded piece of cloth tied with a string around the jug’s neck and left to ferment for ten to twenty days in a warm place, not necessarily in the sun, until the sugar is completely melted and the juice is formed. The jug is rolled occasionally to help with fermentation. The mixture is uncovered and gets filled with tuica or vodka that stops the fermentation process. Then it is sealed with a cork and let stay for eight weeks in a dark and cool place. At the end, the fruits are filtered out through a piece of cloth resulting in a sweet drink that is served in small and delicate glasses usually at special occasions.
The drink can be stored in glass bottles. Some people prefer to keep it in the jug and filter only the quantity they need which makes the drink thicker with time. Aging the drink improves its taste depending on the type of alcohol used. The flavor will strongly depend on the quality of the fruit. That is why it is important to hand pick the fruits to make sure they are fresh, healthy, and well ripened. Include only fruits and their kernels in the drink. Wood or leaves will give the drink an unpleasant taste. Although you can find some of these beverages in different stores online their taste cannot compare with the one of the drink you make yourself. It takes a few weeks to complete the process but it is worth the wait.
Also in Romanian alcoholic beverages see Don’t You Like Your Wine? Boil It!