Armenian liquor is known for being both very strong and very flavorful. Homemade Armenian liquor is also much stronger than the average produced alcohol.
One of the things that Armenia is most famous for is its alcohol. The Armenian culture places a profound amount of importance on Armenian liquor and no party or gathering is complete without wine, beer, or vodka- especially if it is homemade.
Many families in Armenia consider it to be a family tradition to make their own alcoholic beverages and give these beverages as gifts to their friends.
Armenians are also known for toasting a lot; it is not unusual for the host of a party to make over ten toasts in one evening, wishing everyone around the table all of the best, wishing all the new couples lots of love, health, and babies, and more.
Armenians are also known for being able to drink a lot without getting drunk. The secret to this is that Armenians tend to drink a lot while they are eating, which staves off drunkenness.
One fun fact about Armenia is that it has no official drinking age, therefore there is no stigma regarding alcohol drinking as there is in the United States and perhaps other countries (of course, alcohol will not be sold to anyone who is under the age of 18).
Here is a short list of information about different types of alcohol which are popular in Armenia.
Armenian Liquor Type #1 | Beer
According to Armenian history, beer has been produced in Armenia for a very long time; since approximately the 5th century BC.
The very first beer brewery in Armenia’s modern history was the Zanga Brewery in Yerevan, which opened in 1892. It was located in the Hrazdan River gorge and was founded by Harutyun Avedyants, whose father was a successful factory owner.
The beer which was produced in this brewery was a traditional German Bock. The beer produced here had made for good business and had even won awards in Naples and Milan.
Beer had become popular in the Russian Empire, and other beer breweries had opened in Armenia, in Gyumri and Kars. Kars is no longer a part of the Republic of Armenia, but the old brewery in Gyumri is available for tours.
During the Soviet Union, as drinking alcohol was highly discouraged upon by the Soviet government, beer production had taken a break in Armenia.
The largest beer brewery in Armenia is the Beer of Yerevan, which was opened in 1952. This brewery produces one of the most popular beers in Armenia, which is the Kilikia Beer.
This is one of the three main beer corporations in Armenia, the other two being Kotayk and Gyumri beers. The Armenian word for beer is “garejur.”
Armenian Liquor Type #2 | Wine
Armenia is considered to be the origin of wine-making. According to the bible, Noah planted a vineyard on Mount Ararat when the flood waters parted, and drank the wine produced from the grapes and became drunk from it.
But as far as proven history goes, the oldest wine cellar in the world was located in the Vayots Dzor region of Armenia, in the cave Areni. The wine cellar is estimated to be approximately 6,200 years old.
It is considered to be the earliest winemaking site ever to be excavated. Armenia has been called in historical writings “the land of the vineyards” and supplied wine to many of its neighbors in ancient history.
On the walls of Persepolis, an ancient Iranian city, a monument has survived which depicts an Armenian delegation bringing vessels of wine to the Achaemenid king. Many Armenians continue to make homemade wine today with homegrown grapes.
Some of the best wines in Armenia are produced by the companies Areni and Voskevaz. Wine in Armenia is made from grapes, pomegranates, raspberries, and other berries. Many different popular types of wine in Armenia are classical red, white, rose, sparkling, and dessert wines.
There are many wineries in Armenia, especially in the Vayots Dzor region, where the Areni grape is native to. Some wineries in Armenia are the Old Bridge, Zorah Wines (one of its wines, the Zorah Karasi Areni Noir, was named one of the best wines in the worlds by Bloomberg magazine in 2012), Hin Areni, Getnatoun, and Van Ardi. No Armenian table is complete without a bottle of wine.
Armenian Liquor Type #3 | Cognac
Perhaps the drink that Armenia is most famous for is cognac, which is actually brandy. It is one of the most common souvenirs which people bring home from their visits to Armenia, and is also considered a very prestigious gift to give to someone in Armenia.
Many couples also receive a bottle of cognac on their wedding day, which is to be opened on the day their first child is born. It is also exported to Russia, with about 24 million bottles being exported every year.
The Prime Minister of Britain during World War II, Winston Churchill, is known to have said, “Never be late for dinner, smoke Havana cigars and drink Armenian cognac.”
Brandy in Armenia is considered to have been founded according to the legend of Noah’s Ark, where Noah planted grapevines on the slopes of Mount Ararat after the flood had parted.
The first brandy manufacturing company in modern Armenian history was founded in 1887 by merchant Nerses Tairyan. He created the first Wine and Brandy Factory in Yerevan, Armenia. Then, he sold the brandy distillery to Nicolai Shustov in 1898, which as a result became so successful that Armenian brandy is still very popular in Russia today.
Armenian brandy comes in three different types: ordinary, branded, and collection. Brandy in Armenia is only aged in oak barrels. Ordinary brandy has alcohol that is no less than three years of aging. Branded cognac has alcohol which has been aged for no less than six years.
Collection cognac is not too different; branded cognac is matured, which takes over three years. The most famous brandy factory in Armenia is the Yerevan Brandy Factory, also known as Ararat. It is located right as one enters central Yerevan and is a very popular tourist destination.
The factory offers tours and visits to the museum and depicts how brandy is made, the proper way to drink cognac, and other interesting facts and stories.
The other most famous brandy factory in Armenia is the “Yerevan Ararat Brandy-Wine-Vodka Factory,” also known as “Noy.” This factory also offers tours for many people and besides brandy, produces other alcoholic beverages.
Armenian Liquor Type #4 | Oghi
Armenian oghi, sometimes called aragh, is a drink which is very similar to vodka. It is often considered to be the Armenian version of vodka. Vodka is also drunk in Armenia, but oghi is more popular.
Oghi is actually not vodka, but has been popularized as such due to many people’s confusing during the Soviet era. It is an Armenian spirit which has been distilled from different fruits or berries.
Throughout Armenia, many people produce it as moonshine, which has been made from different types of home-grown fruits which grow throughout the country. Oghi is a popular drink and notable at any party is complete without it.
There are several different types of oghi. The most popular is made with the brand name “Artsakh,” made in the Artsakh region-“tuti oghi”.
- “tuti oghi,” made from mulberries.
- “hony oghi,” made from small red berries called cornelian cherries,
- “tsirani oghi” made from apricots,
- “tanzi oghi” made from pears,
- “khaghogi oghi” made from grapes,
- “salori oghi” made from plums,
- “moshi oghi” made from blackberries,
- “tzi oghi” made from figs,
- “khndzori oghi” made from apples.
The most popular producer of oghi, as aforementioned, is the Artsakh oghi made by the Artsakh-Alco Brandy Company in Askeran, Artsakh, using mulberries.
Armenians also produce wheat vodka, which is largely produced in Artsakh. It has been made with wheat and a special type of water so that it is easier to drink.
Armenian oghi is also exported to several different countries, including the United States, Russia, Ukraine, France, and the Baltic countries.
Benefits of Homemade Oghi
When oghi is homemade, it is considered to be very strong. It was banned for common people during the Urartian era, and only kings were allowed to drink it, as it was believed that only kings could resist the strong alcohol content.
Something else very interesting about this Armenian vodka is the fact that many Armenians use it as a healing agent. Many people drink oghi to help their metabolism and their heart health. It also is said to cure stomach pains.
Overall, alcohol is an important part of Armenian history, culture, and tradition. As Armenia is widely considered to be the cradle of alcohol, it is no surprise that alcohol is widely produced there in so many different varieties.
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