Saturday, 19 March 2011

Cossie Out, Distiling Rakia & Dogs

Phew! What a few days we have had here in Bulgaria, hot, hot, hot! We have clocked temps of 42c in our garden. This in in the full sun & a great start to the 2011 tan, I am now tinged brown :D After the Neurologist I took it easy & read on the lounger, in the sun, reading , in my cossie & skirt just in case a neighbour popped in :) At the moment the hottest place is in the front so people could see me! I planted up some seeds, life was lovely & relaxing. This is why we are living here. The weather is fantastic we just have a bad two or three months & most of that is sunny. As I write this though it is overcast with rain so  we will have a hiccup for a week, but then look forward to 6 months of sun, sun, sun with the occasional storm & a bit of wetness. We were eating outside at restaurants well into November this last Autumn & Christmas day was 24c & sunny so different to the damp chill of the UK with its one week here & there summer. The dogs have been too hot, so while Nigel was sealing the ceiling Reg could come indoors, as its cooler in than out. Sophie loves to sunbathe & then fall asleep in a shady spot, then play fight, & so it goes. Mini has a little play then sleeps on the shaded dog bed & Kami, well she loves all weathers, playing & digging (which is not good) then finds refuge under a big bush that they have hollowed out like a cavern.
Lots of interest on what Nigel is doing :)
 We have also managed to get the Rakia distilled & I have started the pruning of the grape vines, which will take me awhile as my hands are knackered & the thing I have wrong with my ear makes getting the overhangs dangerous :(
So we finally got the second batch of Rakia done 7 ltrs from this batch. The last lot was 13ltrs & has been maturing for 6 months. This batch has come out as 69% vol, same as last, so we have to add voda & get it to 45% then mature it for a year. I am going to make some Kirsch from the last lot & different flavour brandies when the fruits are ready, one of which will be Walnut. I love the fact we can make our own wine & brandy even though we hardly ever drink it is still very satisfying like making the jams & chutneys fruits of our labour :) Yovo has his own still so we take the barrel of fermented fruit & sugar (this being the grape mush left after the wine), wood for the fire, flour for the seal & soda & spirit for the mix & get it distilled there.
First things first the fire has to be lit, then the spirit & soda is mixed with the fermented juice, put into the still then is sealed with a flour & water seal.
The steam goes through the pipe then turns into liquid as it  cools down through the spiral pipe which is in a 45 gallon drum of cold water
And out comes the Rakia
A jar is then filled with the Rakia & tested to find the strength
Then off course we have to taste it & bottle it!

I have to tell you the first tasting is ughhhhhh! so ropey :) I mature ours for a year but our friends will start to drink theirs straight away thats why so many ex pats don't like it. I am going to make different brandies with it too, still bloody strong though :)

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