Despite its name, which literally means “mint vodka”, Nanə Araq is a non-alcoholic distillate of wild mint extracted by the Azeris since ancient times. A clear, green, fresh and very fragrant liquid.
To prepare it one kilo of wild mint leaves are needed. These leaves are boiled in about 5 litres of water. The extraction of wild mint essence takes place during the boiling: as soon as the liquid reaches boiling, over 85°-90°C, its vapor collects in the lid of the pot. Every 5 minutes the steam drops from the lid are collected in a cup. This takes a lot of patience and takes 7-8 hours. The distilled plant water is then stored for several days in a dark room until it is ready to be consumed.
1-2 teaspoons are added to cakes, pastries and almost all traditional sweets as a flavouring. It is also taken on its own, in the morning as soon as you wake up, in small doses, as a medicine for gastrointestinal diseases. It is an excellent cure for stabilising blood pressure.
It is produced for self-consumption but very few still dedicate themselves to extracting it at home.