Ratafia is a traditional alcoholic drink originating in Catalonia, made from a base of brandy or brandy that is macerated with a mixture of herbs, fruits and spices.
How is ratafia made?
To make ratafia, a variety of traditional ingredients such as herbs, fruits and spices are brought together. Some common examples are orange and lemon peel, cinnamon, cloves, anise, rosemary, almonds, and green walnuts. These ingredients are macerated in a high-quality schnapps or brandy for several weeks or even months, allowing the flavors to infuse slowly. During this process, the flavors and aromas of the herbs and fruits combine with the alcohol, creating a rich and complex drink. At the end of the maceration time, the mixture is filtered to remove the solids and sugar, or honey is added to taste to balance the flavors. The ratafia is bottled and left to sit for an additional period to allow the flavors to settle before being enjoyed.
The result is a homemade and artisan ratafia with a sweet, bitter, and aromatic flavor, ready to be enjoyed as an aperitif or digestif, either alone, on the rocks or in cocktails.
What flavor does ratafia have?
The ratafia flavor is a unique combination of sweetness, bitterness, and complexity. The presence of aromatic herbs, fruits and spices in the maceration gives it a wide variety of flavors. You can perceive a citrus and refreshing touch from orange and lemon peels, followed by spicy notes from cinnamon and cloves. Rosemary adds a distinctive herbal flavor, while almonds and green walnuts give it a mild bitterness and nutty undertone. The schnapps or brandy used as a base adds warmth and depth to the whole.
In general, ratafia has a balanced and harmonious flavor, where the different ingredients complement each other to offer a unique flavor experience characteristic of this traditional Catalan drink. Each sip reveals layers of flavors that evoke the richness of the region's nature and culture.
How to taste the ratafia?
To taste the ratafia in a full way, it is recommended to follow some simple steps. First, serve some ratafia in a suitable glass, preferably a crystal. Observe its amber color and appreciate its brilliance. Then, bring the glass up to your nose and enjoy the complex and aromatic aroma that is released, allowing your senses to be imbued with its citrus, herbal and spicy notes. Now, take a small sip, letting the ratafia sit on your palate for a few seconds to fully appreciate its flavor. You will notice its balance between sweetness and bitterness, with nuances of fruit, spices and herbs that intertwine in harmony. Feel free to explore the flavors and savor them slowly, noticing how they evolve in your mouth.
Ratafia is ideal to enjoy as an aperitif or as a digestive after a meal, and you can choose to drink it neat, on the rocks or use it as a base to make cocktails.
Always remember to taste it in moderation and appreciate every sip, appreciating the craftsmanship and tradition found in every drop of this emblematic Catalan drink.
What types of ratafia exist?
There are different types of ratafia that vary by region and specific recipes.
Traditional ratafia: It is the classic and most common version of the ratafia. It is made from a mixture of herbs, fruits, spices, and nuts macerated in brandy or brandy. Each recipe may have slightly different ingredients and proportions but is generally characterized by its balanced and complex flavor.
Walnut ratafia: This variety stands out for its intense nutty flavor. It is mainly made using green or immature walnuts, which provide a distinctive, bitter taste. Walnut ratafia tends to have a more robust and bitter character compared to other varieties.
Herb ratafia: In this version, the use of aromatic herbs in the maceration is emphasized. They can include herbs such as thyme, mint, rosemary, sage, and other aromatic plants. The result is a ratafia with a more herbaceous and fresher flavor.
Fruit ratafia: This variety focuses on the use of fresh or canned fruits. Fruits such as plums, cherries, oranges, lemons, pears, or other seasonal fruits can be used. The presence of fruits gives the ratafia a fruity and sweet character.
It is important to note that these are just a few examples of types of ratafia, and there can be many different variations and combinations depending on local tradition and individual preferences. Each type of ratafia has its own unique flavor profile, which makes exploring and discovering different varieties a fascinating experience for lovers of this drink.