There are a few famous Hungarian drinks to fuel your adventures here in Budapest. You may have heard the names Unicum & Pálinka, our most well-known alcohol, but if spirits aren’t your preferred tipple there’s some delicious domestically produced wines and beers to wet your palette too – here’s our quick introduction to the best local Hungarian alcohol drinks to try during your time in the capital.
UnicumAlthough it may sound like a University campus-based low budget porno title, Unicum is, in fact, a national drink of Hungary - indeed it’s more than that, it’s a national treasure! A secret blend of more than 40 herbs & spices aged in oak cask barrels, the 225-year-old liqueur aperitif is an acquired taste; a tinge of fruity sweetness, yet bitter, herbaceous and ‘mediciney’ with and a bit of a kick, but once you’ve become accustomed to it, there’s nothing else that hits the spot quiet like Unicum. Locals love it before and after meals, as shots on a night out, and for curing just about any ailment.
You’ll see it all over Budapest, and its distinctive little-rounded bottle makes for a very backpack-friendly souvenir or gift. You’ll get free shots of Unicum on our Pub Crawl too.
PálinkaWhile Unicum might be described as having a bit of a kick in it, Pálinka, the other national Hungarian alcohol drink, can be said to pack a punch - combining both may well feel like a veritable assault come morning but don’t let that stop you enjoying this strong, sweet & fragrant fruit spirit.
The alcohol volume can vary as much as the range of flavors, between 37% - 86%, and can be made from cherry, plum, pear, and many more fruits. Don’t worry though, the delicious free shots of Pálinka we give you on the pub crawl are around the 45% range – you’ll feel it, but your breath won’t catch fire around candles.
Did you know that Hungary has 22 wine regions? Well, you do now. Not being particularly famous for wine production, this might seem unlikely but, in fact, Hungary is home to a Unesco World Heritage protected wine producing terrain known as the Tokaji region - it even gets a mention in the national anthem!
TörleyTörley is perhaps the most famous Hungarian wine, a very refreshing sparkling wine, the ‘champagne of Hungary’ - so if you’re in Budapest for any kind of celebration, you know what to order to party in style.
FröccsFröccs is simply a Hungarian wine spritzer – a white or Rose Hungarian wine mixed with soda water – the ratio of wine to soda water can vary to preference, but it is a delightful and deliciously tasty concoction and probably the best Hungarian drink on a warm Summer’s night or indeed for chilling out on a hot day.
Hungarian BeerThere are a few established Hungarian beers widely available; Arany Ászok and Soproni, both similar bitter pilsner-style golden lagers, are among the most common and popular Hungarian beer brands. Dreher Bak is a heavier, malty, dark beer with caramel notes. The alcohol volume of these beers is all around the 4.3% - 4.6% mark, while Borsodi Bivaly is a stronger Hungarian larger option with a 6.5% volume.
Hungarian craft beerHungary, and especially Budapest, like many cities in Europe, has experienced a burgeoning craft beer revolution in the past number of years which has really added real variety and excitement to a previously relatively dull beer-scene. There is a wealth of new beer producers, micro-breweries, and incredible local beers to taste now. We recommend trying Hara punk son of a bitch by mad Scientist microbrewery – a near perfect beer, balancing fruity sweetness with gentle malty & hoppy tones and notes of caramel.
Well, there you have it Hungary bound alcohol-lovers – our brief introduction to famous Hungarian alcohol drinks and the best Hungarian drinks you’ve got to try when in Budapest. Have you tried any yet? Tell us about your first taste of Pálinka or Unicum in the comments.