Wine and Raki Alcoholic beverages are interwoven with Albania’s history. The most popular and traditional is raki. It is often made from grapes but can be distilled from a variety of fruits, including plums. The best raki is made in small batches by artisans who truly take pride in their craft. Regions in the south are noted for their grape raki production, while the colder regions in the north specialize in plum raki. Cognac is also popular here, and a local brand, “Skanderbeg,” has won several international competitions. Wine has long been produced in Albania and represents a centuries-old tradition. Through archeological finds, production has been traced back some 3,000 years to the Illyrians, who established a thriving wine industry. Wine production continued to flourish under the Byzantines. Several unique varieties are enjoyed throughout Albania: Shesh i Zi, Kallmet, Mavrud, and Malaga.