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Vruca Rakija

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Vruca Rakija    Vruca Rakija    Fast and Easy, Fall/Winter

A traditional Serbian hot toddy

See related blog post: Serbian Spirits for The Tiger's Wife

Active Time:
Start to Finish: 15 minutes


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups slivowitz (plum brandy)
  • 3 cups water


Pour the sugar into a medium stainless-steel pot and watch carefully as it browns. Once it has carmelized, remove it from the heat and with great care, stand back and pour in the slivovitz and water. The sugar will harden and some of the liquid will explode out of the pot, so be careful! Return the pot to the heat and stand watch until it comes to a boil and the sugar has melted completely. Serve hot or warm. Enjoy!


This sugary drink is a traditional Serbian hot toddy made with rakija. Vruca Rakija is a wintertime staple that is often served at Christmas. Rakija, rakia, or rachiu is a common alcoholic beverage through out the Balkans. There are a number of different fruits used to make different versions; slivovica is made with plums.

We found this recipe after falling in love with Tea Obreht's novel The Tiger's Wife and we think it is a great choice to serve at a spirited book club meeting! It is very easy to make, but requires constant attention.

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Mario Batali