Rakia and how to properly consume it – Viliamovka (Williams pear) rakia

We continue our series dedicated to rakia and how to properly consume it, starting with the so called Viljamova rakia or Viliamovka  and its specifics.

Pear rakia – the main pears variety for spirits is exactly Williams – we will shortly explain to you why

Viliamovka is a type of pear rakia made from the Williams pear. As a matter of fact, the high-quality spirits based on pear are almost exclusively made in part or in full from Williams pear. The Williams pear is believed to have originated in England and spread from there around the world. It is named after Richard Williams, who introduced this variety of pear for the first time some time ago. It is believed that the main disadvantage of this variety is that it is not very resistant to cold, but on the other hand it is early ripening.

The reason that Viliamovka is the most valued and popular pear rakia lies in the fact that the fruit itself is highly aromatic, while at the same time reaching a very good balance between a sugar content and the acidity needed to produce good distillate. At the same time, the Williams pears themselves have very specific and expressive aroma. As a result, the distillate obtained from them is extremely interesting and attractive.

Different styles of Williams pear rakia (Viliamovka)

The quality and style of a spirit as a final product is determined by many factors. The most important of them is the balance, followed by the intensity of aroma and taste, freshness, aftertaste, complexity, etc. In the Central and Western European Williams pear based alcohols, the emphasis in most cases is mainly on the aroma with the emphasis being firmly on aroma intensity. The same is true for the Bulgarian Viljamovka in a historical aspect. At the other extreme are, in general, most of the Serbian and Bosnian Viljamovka, which seek not only aroma but also taste and aftertaste, leading to a significantly better balance in the final drink. In most of the cases, the Williams pear based alcohols are characterized by the expressive and clean aroma of Williams pear and the relative lack of complexity. This is a specific style producing spirits. Its alternative, of course, is a spirit, which is more complex and rich in aromas and flavors. In most cases, the producers of Williams pear based alcohols adhere to the prior style. To the delight of consumers, recently a wide variety of styles of William pear based rakias and alcohols has appeared on the market, which offer a fairly high level of complexity. Our team welcomes this development because we are known for our passion for complex alcohols. Ultimately, the art of course is to reach a well-balanced alcohol with high aroma intensity, good taste, long aftertaste and if the producer tries to do so – a good level of complexity.

Our suggestion for good quality Williams pear rakia

Each producer chooses for themselves when to pick the fruit, how, at what temperature and for how long the fermentation process should take place, etc. Some producers, such as Hubert 1924, rely on fresher fruit, which ferments more slowly, and therefore their rakia has a good complexity and taste of fresh green peel of Williams pear. Other producers, such as Zlatna Dolina, rely on more ripe fruit, the expressive aroma of a ripe pear and a a more full bodied spirit. Zaric, on the other hand, apply a complex production process, achieving exceptional aftertaste, great body, freshness and intensity of aroma, intertwined in an excellent balance, offering the market an extremely valuable and attractive end product for almost every consumer – named Nirvana for a reason. Monogram  offer an absolutely unique product for the world of Williams pear based spirits – Monogram Viljamovka Barrique, which is an oak mature Viljamovka with exceptionally well preserved in taste and aroma fruit. The production process requires a lot of skills and is quite expensive and complex.

The fundamentals for producing real Williams pear rakia (Viliamovka)

In the production of Viliamovka, fermentation of Williams pear pulp is carried out. Of course, it is extremely important that the pears are well cleaned of unfit for proper fermentation (rotten and spoiled) fruit and that the pears are turned into fine pulp. A common practice is the addition of enzymes in order to achieve the optimal amount of soluble sugar and the development of a mash with the desired by the producer style. However, the latter can be done in a successful way only when the producer has experience with the use of enzymes. It is important for the mash that the fruits that will be fermented, have an optimal balance between sweetness and acidity, as well as that the mash reaches an optimal amount of alcohol content before distillation.

As far as distillation is concerned, just like in the production of most other fruit (not grape based rakias), distillation of mash takes place, not wine (liquid). This in itself means that It is important during distillation to have even heating and heat distribution. In this case distillation vessels using steam as a source of heating are preferred. It is also very important that the distillation vessels are well cleaned for the purpose of hygiene and isolation of unpleasant residual aromas and flavors from previous distillations or distillation cycles.

Maturation of Williams pear rakia (Viliamovka)

Viliamovka is а classical example for a type of rakia that traditionally does not mature in oak or any other type of wooden vessels. Of course, this does not mean that it is a low level rakia or anything like that. On the contrary, there are different styles of Viliamovka, in which you can see very interesting combinations of flavors, aromas, aftertaste, etc. It is simply the case that this is one of the types of rakia for which maturation is very complicated. Usually the maturation of Williams pear based distillate leads to an accelerated loss of freshness and fruity aromas. A short maturation period and exceptional precision in its exact duration are required. At the same time, experience shows that in the end, in order to achieve optimal results with preserved fruit aroma and taste, freshness and oak extraction, blending of distillates from different barrels is required, and this is an extremely complex process that requires a lot of experience and professionalism. That is why we are really proud of Monogram Distillery and happy to be able to offer their unique product Monogrm Viljamovka Barrique to our customers

Food pairing for Williams pear rakia (Viliamovka)

Viliamovka is mainly an aperitif and/or digestif rakia, and accordingly it is usually suitable for light and not too aromatic kinds of food, depending on its exact style. Since we know that in Bulgaria there is no established tradition to drink rakia without an appetizer (mezze), we would like to give a few examples of mezze suitable for Viliamovka:

  • Light (not fat and not heavy) biscuit kind or pasta based mezze
  • Light desserts such as Meringue or cheesecake
  • Light, non-aromatic kinds of cheese such as Burrata
  • Nuts

In Central and Western Europe, William pears based spirits are very often consumed on ski slopes and in all places where there is no possibility for food consumption.

However, one thing is certain – Viliamovka is an example of rakia, which does not come along with Shopska salad. We don’t think we need to convince you in that! 🙂 Just pour yourself a glass of Vilyamovka, and eat a Shopska salad with it. 🙂

There is a specific aspect in the proper way of storage of Viliamovka. It is extremely important that the final product is stored glass, in a cool and most importantly dark place. Otherwise, irreversible effects on the aroma of the drink take place. The Williams pear rakia (Viljamovka) definetely deserves this attention so that it could be a delight for our senses.

Please follow our website for more articles regarding the proper ways to consume the different types of rakia. Follow us on facebook to stay up to date for the new events that we organize. You can always contact us on 00359882517935 or if you need more information regarding any rakia.

We wish you nice time reading and PLEASE DO consume wine, alcohol and any other alcoholic beverages wisely, only for pleasure and most importantly refrain from excessive consumption! Do not underestimate the circumstances, obey the law and never drive after drinking alcohol!!!