About Rayika from Bulgaria, a spirit similar to whiskey or Italian grappa or German schnapps.

About Rayika from Bulgaria, a spirit similar to whiskey or Italian grappa or German schnapps.

December 20,2010

Well, I should have said “drinks and food” 🙂 because I’m going to start with the drinks:

Alcoholic drinks:

Ракия (rakiya) – the Bulgarian national drink. It’s a spirit similar to whiskey or Italian grappa or German schnapps. It can be made of practically any fruit. The most common is grape rakiya – made of a grape that has a flavour unique to Bulgaria. I would recommend мускатова ракия (muskatova rakiya) – made from a grape variety called Muscat. Other kinds worth trying are сливова (slivova – plum), кайсиева (kaysieva – apricot) or смокинова (smokinova – fig) rakiya. Of course if you are curious and have enough time, there’s a wide variety of types and brands.

It’s not a good idea to drink rakiya without eating something at the same time. The Bulgarians usually start the dinner with a rakiya and a salad – шопска (shopska), овчарска (ofcharska), снежанка (snezhanka) or any other salad. The best soft drink for the rakiya is the mineral or soda water or ayryan.

The word rakiya is of feminine gender, so to order one you should say:

– Една ракия, моля. (Edna rakiya, molya). – A rakiya, please.

Or if you want to order more than one:

– Две (три, четири…) ракии, моля. (Dve (tri, chetiri) rakii, molya) – see Cardinal numbers.

In most pubs and restaurants, the prices are given for 50 gr. So, if you order one rakiya, you’ll get 50 gr. But it is possible the waiter to ask you if you want a big one (голяма – golyama) or a small one (малка – malka). A big one is 100 gr, and a small one is 50 gr.

I’ve heard English people calling the 50 gr measure “a double”. Ooops. If you order a double (двойна – dvoyna), you’ll get 200 gr. 🙂

In some local pubs or the ones in the small villages, the prices in the menu are still for 100 gr, which was once the norm. So, pay attention.

A very common delusion is that the Bulgarian rakiya has anything to do with the Turkish raki. First of all the correct pronunciation of the Turkish drink is ракъ (rakъ) (see Bulgarian alphabet). It’s a liqueur flavored with aniseed – similar to Greek ouzo.

The Bulgarian drink which has similar taste is called мастика (mastika). It is very popular in the summer. People often mix it with a mint flavoured liquor – 50/50 – this cocktail is known as облак (oblak – cloud).

Of course in every pub you can find drinks like whiskey, vodka, gin etc. They have the same names as in English.


Бира (bira – beer).

A lager is светла бира (svetla bira) or светло пиво (svetlo pivo).

A stout / dark beer is тъмна бира (tъmna bira) or тъмно пиво (tъmno pivo).

A draft beer is наливна (nalivna).

The standard beer in Bulgaria is 0.5 l. A small beer could be 330 ml or 250 ml. It should be shown in the menu. Some pubs – usually beer-houses – бирария – offer 1l mugs.

The word beer is of feminine gender, so the phrase to order it is:

– Една бира, моля. (Edna bira, molya)

or Две (три, четири…) бири, моля. ((Dve (tri, chetiri) biri, molya).

If you want to order a particular brand, it is necessary to make agree the number one or two. See Gender of nouns.


Вино (vino – wine).

White wine – бяло вино (byalo wino)

Red wine – червено вино (cherveno vino)

A bottle of wite / red wine – Бутилка бяло / червено вино (Butilka byalo / cherveno vino)

A glass of wine – чаша вино (chasha vino).


Безалкохолни напитки – Soft drinks:

The Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola products are offered everywhere. They have their popular names.

More of an interest for us here is a typically Bulgarian soft drink you can’t find anywhere else:

Айрян (ayryan) – also called айран (ayran), mainly by people in the Sofia area. It’s drinking yoghurt that complements rakiya. It is regarded as an effective medicine against hang-over too. It taste better with some salt (in my opinion).

The Bulgarian word for water is вода (voda). Mineral water is минерална вода (mineralna voda). Soda water is just сода or газирана вода (gazirana voda).


Салати – Salads:

Before I start with the salads it is important to present one of their most important ingredients – сирене (sirene). Every dictionary you check will tell you that сирене is cheese. Well, this is not completely true.

Сирене is a curd cheese very similar in style to the Greek cheese, feta. The other cheese you are likely to see is called кашкавал (kashkaval) in Bulgarian. This one is similar in appearance and texture to Cheddar cheese, though its flavour is somewhat milder.

Шопска салата (shopska salata) – the most popular Bulgarian salad. It usually contains tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers (raw or baked) and onions, all chopped and mixed. The salad is covered with grated sirene. If you don’t like parsley (which is my case), you better tell the waiter when ordering, because the parsley is a common herb for most of the salads, including this one.

Овчарска салата (ofcharska salata – shepherd’s salad) – It has the same ingredients as the shopska, plus some ham, boiled eggs, mushrooms – in differing amounts, depending on the particular recipe of the restaurant.

Снежанка (snezhanka – Snow White) – It’s a salad made of yoghurt, cucumbers, garlic and walnuts.

Руска салата (ruska salata – Russian salad)

Мешана салата (meshana salata – mixed salad)

Лютеница (lyutenitza)

Кьопоолу, also called кьополу (kyopolu)

Source: http://www.studybulgarian.com/Food%20and%20drinks%20guide.htm

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