Each country has its own traditions of drinking wine. In Georgia, it was known 3,000 years ago. But despite the large amount of fine wine and strong chacha, which is made in almost every home, drunkenness in Georgia and Abkhazia is not common. Alcoholic drinks here are treated as a means of prolonging life. Almost every feast is complete without wine or chacha. They are drunk a lot, but this feast lasts a long time, accompanied not only by a large number of famous Georgian toasts, but also by the abundance of delicious dishes that the cuisine of this people is famous for.
Chacha - what is it
Chacha - drink high fortress. At its core, this is moonshine from grape pulp of grapes, purified by single, double and even triple distillation. The strength of the drink depends on the amount of distillations, which in some cases reaches 70 degrees. Traditionally, chacha is not stronger than 45 degrees, it is this drink that brings the most pleasure and it is better to drink.Attention! There is an original way to check the strength of a drink: they dip a finger in the tea cup and set it on fire. If it burns completely and there is no burn, then the strength of the drink is sufficient.
According to the classification of wines, chacha is a strong grape brandy. The name of the drink, patented in Georgia in 2011 and also protected by the European Union, comes from the raw materials used to make it. In Georgia, so called grape marc. It must have high acidity. Only in this case, the drink will have a rich taste and rich aroma. In Georgia, it is customary to use husks from the Rkatsiteli grape variety; in Abkhazia, the Isabella grape variety is preferred.
The tradition of making strong alcoholic drinks from grapes exists in many countries in which it grows. Therefore, chacha has foreign relatives: in Italy it is a grappa, in Portugal it is a bagcheier, in France it is a mark, in Spain it is an orujo. Chilean pisco and Balkan raki are considered to be analogous to chacha.
In Georgia and Abkhazia, chacha is made in almost every rural home. The cooking recipe is family owned and kept secret.Attention! This chacha must be seasoned. The special taste, aroma and color gives it the material of the barrel in which it is aged. In an oak barrel, it will be dark brown, from a mulberry - yellow, from a cherry - reddish.
There are special rustic devices for distilling chacha. One of the old distilleries is kept in the museum. 2
In Georgia, for the manufacture of chacha use copper containers.
Drink a drink not only during the feast. This is a traditional drink for an aperitif. During the agricultural work, the peasants drank a glass of chacha at breakfast so that they had the strength for a whole day of hard work. This drink is usually consumed in small cups or glasses, but not in one gulp, experts advise to drink it slowly, in small sips. Then he will bring undoubted benefit.
The benefits of chacha and its harm
Since this drink is made on the basis of grapes, it absorbs its beneficial properties. It has vitamins PP and B2. Chacha has a rich mineral composition and contains salts of iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium. All these elements are part of the cells of the human body. There are also antioxidants in the cup, which are so necessary to combat many diseases.
Abkhazians and Georgians believe that in many respects they owe their longevity to chache. This drink has the following properties:
- lowers cholesterol;
- improves the functioning of the heart and blood vessels;
- destroys cancer cells;
- normalizes metabolism;
- reduces swelling;
- improves digestion;
- helps to cope with inflammation and viruses.
Like every drink, chacha has its own contraindications. It cannot be drunk for women who are expecting a baby and nursing moms Do not advise doctors to use chacha for people with chronic diseases.A warning! A categorical contraindication to its use is the individual intolerance of any of its components.
If it is not possible to taste chacha in Georgia, it is quite possible to enjoy it at home. There are several proven recipes for making chacha at home without or with yeast.
You can prepare a drink from one grape variety, the best are Isabella, Rkatsiteli, Akachi. You can use a mixture of different varieties.
Attention! Grapes brought for sale from abroad can not be used.
For safety, it is often treated with special substances that can spoil the taste and quality of the drink.
To get waste-free production, grape wine and chacha are best prepared at the same time. From grape marc you get a strong drink of excellent quality.
For cooking you will need:
- 10 kg of grape cake;
- 30 liters of water;
- 5 kg of sugar.
The role of the yeast component will be played by wild yeast, which is always on the surface of the grapes.
Fermenting chacha without the addition of yeast will last longer, but the drink will turn out to be of higher quality, more fragrant and softer. The fermentation process can be delayed for 3 months.A warning! Remove the berries from the ridges is not necessary. The tannins that they contain will give the final product a special taste.
Water should be used soft, but distilled or boiled will not work. If the water is chlorinated, it must be defended for 2 days.
- Capacities for fermented grape pulp should be large enough. Fill them at 9/10 so that the fermented product does not spill. For the preparation of chacha can not use aluminum containers. Acid, which is contained in grapes, will oxidize aluminum to form harmful salts.
- Water lock It is necessary so that oxygen does not go to the fermenting pulp. If this happens, the acetic acid fermentation will begin and the product will be spoiled. The emitted gases must have an outlet, which provides a water seal.
- Distiller or moonshine.
- Ware for storing chacha. Ideal if it is an oak or beech keg. If not, you will have to limit the glass packaging.
- Alcohol Meter In the process of distillation to measure the strength of the liquid will have repeatedly.
Chachu at home is prepared in several stages.
If chacha is made from the martes left to make wine, the cake is ready. Otherwise, you need to crush the berries with your hands. Place the cake or crushed grapes, not straining the juice, in a fermentation tank. Now you need to cook the syrup. To do this, heat ½ liter of water and a kilogram of sugar until it is completely dissolved.Attention! The syrup should cool to a temperature of 30 degrees.
Do not forget to constantly stir the syrup. Cooking pulp. To do this, dilute the cake or grapes with the remaining water, which is slightly heated. Its temperature should not exceed 35 degrees so that the wild yeast does not die. Add syrup to the container and mix thoroughly. Install the water seal. The fermentation process should take place at a temperature of from 25 to 28 degrees in a dark place.
Attention! To crushed grapes, which float to the surface during fermentation, do not become covered with mold, the contents of the fermentation tank must be mixed once every 2 or 3 days.
As soon as carbon dioxide ceases to be emitted, it is time to proceed to the next stage in the preparation of chacha - distillation. If the distillation is not strained out the pulp, the product may burn. Therefore, we squeeze the skin of grapes, bones and ridges through several layers of gauze, but do not throw them away. Placed in a gauze bag and suspended above the distillation vessel, they will provide a more unique flavor.
Separated liquid is placed in the distillation cube. We carry out the first distillation. We finish it when the strength of the liquid being distilled becomes less than 30 degrees. Using an alcoholmeter, we determine the amount of alcohol in the distilled liquid. Dilute it with water to an alcohol concentration of 20%. Re-placed in the distillation apparatus and begin the second distillation.
When the 1/10 part is distilled, we remove it. This is the so-called head. We also remove the tail, which remains after reaching a temperature of 95 degrees in the distillation cube. There are many harmful substances in the head and tail, such as fusel oils, ethers, methyl alcohol. For the preparation of chacha, only the body is used or, as they say in Georgia, the heart, that is, the middle part of the liquid being distilled. The tail and head are usually added when distilling the next batch of mash that will be prepared from a new batch of grapes. Dilute the resulting chacha to the required strength and let it mature in barrels or bottles for 3 weeks.Tip! In the process of infusing chacha, you can add walnut partitions, various herbs, lemon rinds to it. This will make the drink not only tastier, but also healthier.
You can make chacha according to the traditional Georgian recipe.
It will take:
- 15 kg of grapes of incomplete ripeness;
- 5 and 40 liters of water, heated to 35 degrees;
- 8 kg of sugar.
It is necessary to carefully crush the grapes with ridges. We place it in an enameled bowl, adding 5 liters of water. Let it wander in the warmth and darkness for about 4 days. Do not forget to cover the container with gauze or a towel, but not a lid. The appearance of the caps from the foam - a signal that it is time for the mash to drain.
We do this through cheesecloth. The marc is again laid out in a saucepan, adding the rest of the water and sugar. Leave it warm until full fermentation, covered with a lid.Tip! In order not to miss the moment of the start of distillation, we taste the mash. It should be slightly bitter or sour, but not peroxide.
We make the first distillation completely by hanging the cake in gauze inside the distillation vessel. Alcohol output is about 10 liters. We add the same amount of water and conduct the second distillation, cutting off about 300 ml of the “head” and collecting the whole body. The strength of the finished product should be about 80 degrees. Chacha insist about 3 weeks.
This tasty and healthy drink is the national treasure of Georgia. But nothing prevents to cook it at home. Experimenting with additives and wooden kegs for aging chacha, you can achieve a stunning taste of this ancient drink.