In the whole Serbia, especially in central part, this traditional winter beverage is used as a cure for flu, improves circulation and it is a way to warm your “soul” on cold days. Shumadian tea, ie. cooked schnapps, is 18-30% strong but you must be careful because it “hits” stronger and faster 😀
Preparing cooked schnapps (rakija)
You need: 4 soup spoons of sugar, 250ml soft schnapps (rakija) (10 do 112 grades), 100ml water or 5 soup spoons of sugar, 250ml of strong schnapps (17 grades) and 150-200ml of water.
Put sugar in metal pot to caramelize, when it does, take the pot of the burner and immediately add water. When caramelizing please watch out that it doesn’t burn because it will give unpleasant taste to the schnapps. Put it back on the burner to melt the sugar. Then add schnapps. Put schnapps on the burner to boil for awhile, remove it and put again once more to boil and the tea is ready.
When making cooked schnapps, you can see what is the quality of the schnapps, ie. if it contains methyl alcohol that is dangerous for humans health. Its boiling point is about 6-8 degrees lower than boiling point of ethyl alcohol. With the schnapps that contains methyl alcohol when you cook it, little bubbles appear whose intensity weakens after 6-10 minutes. Secondary flurry of bubbles is a sign that vaporization of ethyl alcohol has began. With good quality schnapps that doesn’t contain toxic alcohol this phenomenon is absent.
Cooked schnapps (Shumadian tea) is served in little glasses with a bit thicker walls. You must worm up the glasses on the steam before pouring the tea so the glass doesn’t rapture. If the glasses are too warm for your fingers you can previously rap it in a towel or napkin.