Winter in Serbia means wild nights in smokey kafanas (taverns) or staying cosy at home with delicious, endless sarma (meat rolled into pickled cabbage).

Either way, you’re going to want some mulled brandy too. Here’s how the Serbs make it.

If you’re confused and you need a primer on this classy beverage, we have other articles that explain what rakija is, as well as the benefits of rakija according to Serbian grandparents.

Kuvana Rakija Recipe (Serbian Mulled Brandy)

  • 1 cup of rakija, preferably made by your Serbian grandfather in the countryside, or a friend’s Serbian grandfather; at the risk of greatly offending my Serbian readers, if you don’t have ready access to a Serbian grandfather, I do believe that you can use store-bought rakija or else regular brandy/cognac/eau de vie instead
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar

Place the sugar in a small pot on medium-high heat until it caramelizes. Then add the water and rakija and stir, and heat for a bit, stirring, until the sugar is fully dissolved into the drink.

No spices are added, as rakija is already quite flavorful.

Makes two cups.

Thanks to Aleksandra Gavrilović, who introduced me to the drink in the video above.

kuvana rakija serbian mulled brandy preparation