Cousins Monique Sutevski and James Projcevski combine culture, tradition & shiraz to bring Sydney its first rakija distillery!
Gin has been in the limelight for years with heavyweight distillers like Four Pillars, Poor Toms and Archies Rose in Sydney. It was only a matter of time before we turned our attention to something different, something that reflects culture and legacy passed down for generations. Pioneering millennials Monique Sutevski and James Projcevski have put their careers on hold to introduce Sydney to the world of rakija.
What may be a new spirit to some is not to these two cousins as they replicate a recipe that has been in the family for five generations. You may have heard of it with a different name, perhaps grappa in Italy, Lebanon in Arak, Ouzo in Greece or moonshine here in Sydney. Legal worker Sutevski and mortgage broker Projcevski have set out to change the way people drink this fermented beverage and give this Eastern European trend its moment in Sydney.
DNA Distillery replicates Dedo Naum’s original recipe using a bold, full-bodied Shiraz from the cool climates of the Hilltop Region, Southern NSW. The pair are involved in every step of the process from sourcing the grapes, fermentation and double distilling. There are two varieties available; the Classic Rakija which is delicate on the palate with a crisp, fresh finish and the Gold Rakija which is richer with a sweet undertone. The bottles themselves are aesthetic, printed with a vintage scene from Europe. It’s the kind of bottle you keep for flowers or as a showpiece on the shelf.
Rakija is designed to be savoured whether you have it on ice or as a cocktail. The two have shared some of their favourite cocktail recipes to get you started. The Teta Tina’s Margarita features 60ml of DNA Distillery Classic Rakija, 30ml of lime juice, 22ml of simple syrup and lots of ice. For those spritz drinkers, try the Sunset Spritz featuring 25ml of DNA Distillery Classic Rakija, 30ml of prosecco, 30ml of Aperol and 30ml of soda. Like it sweet? Try the Cosmo Cousin with 60ml of DNA Distillery Classic Rakija, 15ml of lime juice, 15ml of Cointreau, 125ml of cranberry juice, ice and fresh mint. The bottles are $69 each and can be easily purchased online.
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