Georgian Chacha

Georgian Chacha

If you’ve ever been to a traditional Georgian supra or on a wine tasting in the country, you may already be familiar with chacha, a Georgian grape vodka that is every bit as old as Georgian wine. This makes perfect sense when you consider that chacha is not only the name for this potent spirit, but also for the stems, leaves, and skins of grapes that are used in the process of making Georgian wine. Rather than letting these ingredients go to waste, Georgians have been distilling it into a vodka-like drink for more than 8,000 years.

How Georgian Chacha is Distilled

Once the wine has been fermented, winemakers take the remaining chacha (stems, leaves, skins etc.) and put it into a separate vessel to ferment for the whole winter. In the spring, the distillation process can begin.

Using a Georgian style still, the winemaker will place a pot onto a tripod, place the chacha inside with a little water (to prevent burning), then tightly attach a zarpush (a copper lid with a tube coming from the front), and place it over a flame.

The zarpush has a tube which is also of copper attached to it. The tube leads to a copper, wooden, or stone trough, where water is continually running to cool it. Steam comes from the pot, through the tube, into the trough, there condensing under the influence of the cold water, and finally goes drop by drop into the vodka container placed under the tube.

The Diversity of Georgian Chacha

Chacha is a strong alcohol beverage. It reached the peak of its production in the 19th century. The chacha produced by the Otskheli brothers and Davit Sarajishvili won the grand prize at international exhibitions.

Chacha made and infused with honey, feijoa, and a variety of other fruits and herbs is also popular today.

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