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According to Romanian tradition, no meal should start without a shot of plum tuica, especially when a guest visits

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Romanians cook traditional alcoholic tuica from plums at homes distilling it in brass stills and storing in wooden barrels for up to eight weeks, though the drink is also good served fresh. People who cook the famous Romanian brandy are known as "tuicari," "cazangii," or "cazanari"—the names differ depending on the region.

Romanians, particularly those who live in rural areas, traditionally love to start their meal with a shot of tuica. It is also a very common treat for guests.

Two varieties of tuica include a strong version at 60% alcohol by volume, and 30%—a lighter version. This traditional alcoholic drink is not to be confused with another local drink "palinca," as the former is made exclusively from plums and is a kind of brandy ​when the latter is cooked also from pears and apricots. The so-called "old tuica" aged in barrels may be sampled any time throughout the year, yet "new tuica" is available only from early October to early December, when the drink is being cooked.

If you like strong alcoholic drinks, you should travel the world and taste as many as possible. Some of the best yet not very known ones are Tuica from Romania, Chacha from Georgia, Pálinka from Hungary, and Arak from Jordan. What drink would you try next?

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