Boukha bottle

Boukha (Tunisian Arabic: بوخة) is a distilled beverage produced from figs. It originated in the Tunisian Jewish community, where most of it is still produced.


There have been many stories regarding the origin of the name Boukha. Many have said that it stems from “steam of alcohol” in Arabic, although the explanation is much simpler.

Once Yaakov Bokobsa managed to produce his “Eau-de-Vie” from figs, he naturally called it Vodka.

In Russian, vodka is spelled as follows:водка.

Because Tunisians could not read the Russian language nor the Cyrillic alphabet, they took the Russian word водка, and pronounced it the way it looks: BOUKHA[1]

Interestingly, the word Boukha was adopted back into the Russian language, where it's used as бухать (pronounced "boukhat'") which is a slang term for "to drink heavily" or бухарик ("boukharik") which is a slang term for a drunkard.

It is obtained by simple distillation of Mediterranean figs. Its alcohol percentage ranges between 36 and 40 percent.


Boukha can be consumed straight at room temperature or cold,[2] or serve as the basis for cocktails and for fruit salad.

History of boukha in Colonial Tunisia

The production of Boukha is believed to be established in Tunisia in the 1880s. The production of Boukha was creating an alcohol market that could not provide tax revenue for the French colonial authorities and thus was subject to alcohol laws that deliberately targeted indigenous Maghrebi drinks as they could be easily produced and consumed for less due to the lack of tax.[3]


  1. ^ "Boukha Bokobsa | The Legend | 200 YEARS OF SAVOIR FAIRE".
  2. ^ "Boukha Bokobsa". Archived from the original on 6 April 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
  3. ^ Studer, Nina (2022) 'Under the Influence' History Today July 2022 Vol 72 Issue 7

See also