Palinka, or as it often referred to, the Hungarian Brandy was and still is one of the most famous alcoholic drink in Hungary and it managed to become world famous in the past few years.
Although many people think of a lower-quality drink that is distilled at home when they hear the word ‘palinka’, fortunately, this unique drink managed to get rid of this derogatory discrimination and took its rightful place on the market in Hungary and in other countries as well, thanks to the quality distillers that are continuously grow in number and come up with innovative ideas.
Palinka has a long and eventful history and it has earned the admiration of thousands of people all around the world. In order to understand what palinka really is, it is important to clarify what certain definitions mean and what type of palinkas one can get on the market.
Many people think that palinka can cure and ease stomach-related problems and this is one of the reasons why it is served before meals as an ‘aperitif’ to stimulate appetite, or at the end of the meal as a ‘digestive’ to help digestion. Either way, palinka is definitely an enjoyable drink.
But what is palinka?
According to the definition – that has also been described in the so called Palinka Law of the year 2008 – only those palinkas can be considered ‘original’ and authentic that are made of 100 % fruit and that has a minimum alcohol content of 37.5 percent.
Once can easily see that palinka is a rather strong spirit and this is one of the factors that gives its uniqueness and versatility.
Versatility means that palinka can be made of several different fruit and consequently has a wide array of flavours. The most popular ones are made of apricot, cherry, sour cherry, pear and plum.
>Usually the strongest (i.e. the highest alcohol content) palinka is made of plum and the alcohol percent for that is minimum 50 %. That is one of the most enjoyable and well-known palinkas. But the list does not end here. There a number of different palinkas and it is not easy to decide, which one is the best because it highly depends on the taste of those who try them. There are, for instance, those palinkas that have honey added to them during production.
Contrary to the common belief, palinkas with honey are not low-quality drinks. Moreover, honey can give an extra taste to the palinka that further highlights its fruitiness.
Another type of palinka is called ‘ágyas’ or ‘fruit bedded’ palinka. This adjective refers to the way of production. ‘Fruit bedded’ palinka is a palinka that is aged for at least three months with fruit (at least 10 kg fresh fruit for 100 litres of palinka) usually in wooden barrels. This way of production makes palinka softer and smoother. It is important to know that there are certain palinkas on that market that are of protected origin.
These drinks form a unique group and their geographic origin and method of production are strictly defined. Some of the most famous palinkas of protected origin are the Újfehértói Meggypálinka, Pannonhalmi Törkölypálinka, Gönci Barackpálinka and Szatmári Szilvapálinka.