Chacha is a strong alcoholic drink traditionally produced in Georgia. They make it not only handicraft, but also at distilleries. By and large, for Georgians, chacha is the same as moonshine for the Eastern Slavs, grappa for Italians, and rakiya for the inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula. Of course, there are differences in the technology of preparation and raw materials, but they have one thing in common - all these alcoholic beverages are an integral part of national traditions.
Chacha is prepared at home in the Caucasus as simply and often as we have moonshine. Probably, there is no person who has visited this country at least once and has not tried this drink, regardless of desire. Only children and pregnant women managed to avoid tasting chacha. Traditional Georgian hospitality includes not only a plentiful feast and famous dry wines, but also stronger drinks.
During the Second World War, at the Yalta Conference, Stalin presented chacha to Churchill and Roosevelt. Now this drink is known far beyond the borders of Georgia, it can be prepared not only from grapes, today any fruit and berry raw materials are used in its production. It is interesting that the authorities of this country in 2011 issued a patent for chacha.
What is chacha
We will tell you how to make chacha at home, but first, let's take a closer look at this strong drink. When classifying alcohol, it is referred to as brandy.
Raw materials for the production of chacha
Traditionally, grapes are used to make chacha at home. This makes it a drink akin to cognac or armagnac. But chacha is prepared not from wine, but from waste - cake, seeds, ridges left after fermentation, and substandard grapes that did not have time to ripen. True, no one forbids driving a drink from juice, sometimes this is exactly what they do.
In order to diversify the recipe and taste of alcohol, chacha is made from any, but exclusively fruit and berry raw materials, which is its main difference from vodka. Today, both in Georgian villages and in retail outlets, you can find distillation products:
- sweet citrus fruits;
Traditionally, in western Georgia, the drink is prepared from the Rkatsiteli grape variety; for Abkhazia, Isabella and Kachich turned out to be more acceptable. Depending on the subsequent storage, chacha can be of two varieties:
- white, which is immediately poured into glass containers;
- yellow, aged in oak barrels.
From a strong alcoholic drink, tinctures are often prepared on herbs, walnuts, and fruits.
Strength, taste and calorie content
Chacha has the taste of raw materials - grapes or other fruits. Its strength is 55-60 degrees, which is significantly higher than that of most similar drinks. This must be taken into account when drinking, as chacha is easy to drink and has a fruity aftertaste. Alcohol discharged at the factory can have a strength of 45-50 degrees, and homemade alcohol - 70-80.
The taste of yellow chacha, aged in oak barrels, is always more intense than that of white, a layman can easily confuse it with cognac. It should be stored in a cool dark place, poured into glass bottles. Plastic, not only kills delicate taste, but can also introduce unwanted substances.
Important! The strength of chacha is difficult to determine by taste, which makes it a rather insidious drink.
The calorie content is 225 kcal per 100 g.
How and when to drink chacha
For a person who abuses alcoholic beverages, talking about the culture of drinking is useless. He only needs to be reminded of the insidiousness of chacha, in which degrees are disguised under a fruity aroma.
Those who consume alcohol in moderate doses are often interested not only in cooking recipes in order to be able to make a drink with their own hands, but also in the national traditions of drinking strong drinks. This is how their taste is fully revealed. Chacha is drunk and eaten in different ways, depending on the place of residence:
- A quality drink should be at room temperature, which allows the taste to fully unfold, and be drunk in small sips. Simple distillates are cooled to 5-10 degrees.
- In Georgian villages, a glass of chacha is drunk before going to work. Moreover, in the west they eat churchkhela or other sweets, in the east - pickles.
- In Abkhazia, chacha is served as an aperitif before a meal. Unaccustomed to such celebrations, guests of Georgia need to be especially careful, because rather strong alcohol will have to be washed down with wine.
Features of the drink
Making chacha at home is easy. It is much more difficult to drive out a drink that corresponds to national Georgian traditions. Of course, if authenticity is important to us, not the name. For some reason, when we drive chacha, we have it like moonshine, the Italians make it reminiscent of grappa, the Bulgarians and Moldovans - rakia. Making the Georgian national drink has its own subtleties, which we will list below. It may be difficult to take into account all the points, but if you want to get exactly chacha, there is no other way out.
- The main ingredient of the drink is grape or other fruit pomace obtained after the production of wine or juice. An obligatory addition is unripe fruits.
- Fruits should be exclusively traditional for the Transcaucasus. There is no such thing as apple or plum chacha.
- You cannot use sugar or any yeast, except for the "wild" ones contained on the surface of unwashed fruits. Of course, the drink will take longer to prepare, and it is generally impossible to prepare it from sour grapes.
- Prepare chacha with only one type of fruit. Grapes should be taken from white varieties.
- During distillation, chacha must not be divided into fractions. Instead, double distillation and thorough purification are used.
- The drink is aged only in oak barrels. When using other wood, it will no longer be chacha.
- The strength of the drink should not be less than 45 degrees. Without going into the intricacies of chemical processes, we note that if you accidentally dilute chacha even to 43 degrees, and then increase the alcohol content by mixing with an undiluted product, the taste will deteriorate.
Before giving a recipe for chacha at home, we warn you that you will need a distiller, or simply a moonshine, to prepare it. Each subsequent distillation increases the strength:
- a single dose allows you to get alcohol with a strength of up to 40 degrees;
- double entry - 60;
- three times - 80;
- multiple - 96.
Pure alcohol is obtained by rectification.
We suggest making chacha at home. A simple recipe provides that for every kilogram of grape cake and bunches, you need to take 2 liters of boiled water.
Take the cake left over after making the wine.
Clean the bunches of substandard grapes from leaves and twigs, but do not cut off for years. It cannot be washed in order to preserve the "wild" yeast on the surface.
Mash the grapes thoroughly so that they let the juice out. If you have a juicing press, use it.
In a fermentation tank, combine the cake with crushed grapes, fill with water.
Stir with a wooden spatula, place a water seal. Move to a dark, warm place.
To prevent mold from forming on the surface, stir every 2-3 days.
After the end of fermentation, proceed to the next step.
Preparation for distillation should take place in one of the following ways:
- Strain the braga, tie the cake in several layers of gauze and hang it from the top inside the moonshine still. This will add flavor to the alcohol.
- You do not need to filter anything; put a layer of clean straw on the bottom of the distillation cube so that the cake does not burn.
After the first stage of distillation, you will get alcohol with a strength of about 40 degrees with a not very pleasant smell.
Dilute it with water 1: 1 and distill again.
Purify the distillate. A separate chapter will be devoted to this.
Dilute to the desired strength, which should not be less than 45 degrees.
Put it in the refrigerator or cellar for at least 1.5 months.
Unfortunately, in the north, grapes ripen poorly and often remain sour even by the end of autumn. And some people will be quite satisfied with the drink "a la chacha" made with sugar. We just have to tell you how to make it at home. The video proposed for viewing just describes the preparation of chacha with sugar:
Probably everyone is interested in how to make chacha from southern fruits. We give a recipe for a drink with tangerines, but they can be replaced with any juicy fruits.
For every 2 kg of peeled tangerine and cake obtained after juicing, take 1 liter of water.
Then do everything as described in the first recipe.
This drink is not as often made in Georgia as grape or from other fruits, but it is highly valued.
For each kilogram of cake remaining after obtaining the juice, take 2 liters of boiled water and 100 g of peeled pomegranate seeds.
Prepare the mash from the cake and water, as described in the first recipe (we do not add the grains yet).
Distill the drink once, dilute to a strength of 30 degrees.
Pour pomegranate seeds with alcohol, soak for 5 days in a dark place.
Distill with the grains.
Clean the drink, let it brew in the basement or refrigerator for 1.5 months.
Without cleaning, the drink does not smell very good, and we do not need harmful substances at all. Everyone knows about cleaning homemade wine or moonshine. So, these methods are not suitable for chacha. Potassium permanganate or activated carbon will only spoil the taste.
Immediately after the second distillation, milk is added to the chacha at the rate of 200 ml of casein per 10 liters of drink. It should stand in a dark place for a week, shake it twice a day or stir it with a wooden spatula. Then the alcohol is carefully drained from the sediment, passed through a cotton-gauze filter, diluted to the desired strength, and bottled.
Cleaning with pine nuts
Of course, you want to eat pine nuts, not throw them into an alcoholic drink. That's just from the smell of acetone, which can appear, especially if the mash is overexposed, it is difficult. And pine nuts will do a great job. Moreover, they will take in harmful impurities.
For each liter of chacha, take a handful of peeled nuts and put in a dark place for 2 weeks. After that, the drink is filtered and bottled.
Important! You cannot eat pine nuts, which were used to purify alcohol - they have absorbed many harmful substances and turned into poison.
As you can see, there is nothing difficult in making homemade chacha. Just do not forget about the insidiousness of the drink, which contains many degrees, and is easy to drink!