Albania's neighbors, the Ottomans, pay a visit to share their cultural heritage.

Albania’s neighbors, the Ottomans, pay a visit to share their cultural heritage.

People living on these lands have been dominated by murderous foreign powers for longer than they’ve even considered themselves Albanian. They’ve also gotten most of their ideas about what makes for good social drinks from these same powers.

The result: some very disturbing associations with each drink, as below.

 Popular Drinks in  Albania  Associated Atrocity Against Albanians
 Turkish coffee, boza Wars, five centuries of Ottoman subjugation of the Albanian people
 Limoncello, espresso Mass executions, concentration camps, and forced Italianization during WWII; way back in the day, the conquering Romans were assholes too
 Ouzo Albania spent nearly half of the 20th century “officially” at war with Greece; this is over, but mistreatment of immigrant Albanians in Greece is ongoing (ditto for ethnic Greeks in Albania)
 Raki The 1998-1999 Kosova-Serbian War, Serbian genocide against ethnic Albanian Kosovars (whose Kosovo Liberation Army also committed atrocities), ongoing mutual ethnic hate and sporadic ethnic cleansing campaigns over the last few centuries

 

In Kosovo and northern Albania these feelings are still particularly pronounced, especially when the raki is brought out. Raki is sometimes dismissively referred to as pije shkjau, or “the Slavic drink”. But this fruit brandy also has a long history among Albanians, so nobody seems about to give it up. Besides, as some Kosovars cheerfully told me — over beers — they are observant Muslims and don’t actually drink any alcohol at all. But I then bought them a round of raki, and no one so much as hesitated.