I was delighted to receive an email from the proprietor of Blackwell’s Wine and Spirits informing me that they now have Efe Raki in stock for $27/fifth. I picked up a bottle of it last weekend, and although I hadn’t tried it in Turkey (we drank Yeni Raki almost exclusively), it proved to be very good and much better than the Aslan Sutu I bought duty-free in the Istanbul airport.
For those unfamiliar with raki, it’s an anise-flavored liquor traditionally consumed either straight up or mixed with cold filtered water to taste, much like Pernod or Absinthe. Being as it’s very strong (90-100+ proof), I like it diluted a bit.
I hadn’t been to Blackwell’s before and was very impressed with their selection of fine spirits, wine, and beer. They are one of the only retailers I know who sells Unibroue Terrible, a fantastic strong Belgian-style beer from Canada, as well as my favorite Belgian of all, Rochefort 10. They also carry Juniper Gin (made by Anchor Steam), Old Raj, Hendricks, etc etc. Prices seemed pretty reasonable on the items I’m familiar with, and as an added bonus they sometimes have wine tastings.