Found all over the country but best enjoyed in and around Strumica, as the name implies, mastika, a strong liquer in the form of a fortified brandy, features the distinct flavour of mastic, a pharmaceutical and culinary resin gathered from the tree of the same name. Popular beyond the country’s borders in a range of different varieties, the North Macedonian rendition, of which most people agree the Strumica-produced version is the best, is generally consumed as an apéritif. Found on pretty much every menu nationwide and the country’s unofficial tipple, a shop-bought bottle of Strumička Mastika makes an excellent gift or souvenir, assuming that you get it home without drinking it first.

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