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A Guide to Pálinka in Budapest

January 31st, 2022

 

Hungarians have many customs, but there is nothing more traditional than pálinka. It is a part of Hungarian lifestyle and culture and they enjoy it whether sad or happy, a drink is always welcome in Hungary. Book your own pálinka tasting here!

 

What is Pálinka?

The first records of pálinka date back to the 14th century. It was known as "Aqua vitae reginae Hungariae" or, in English, as "the aqua vitae of the King Charles of Hungary".

This spirit was probably brandy, mixed with rosemary, and used as medicine for the king and queen who suffered from arthritis. For centuries it was a drink that peasants made in their backyard, but in the 17th century an official act put an end to all that.

Pálinka is a drink with a high percentage of alcohol, on average about 40%. It is a brandy that is distilled from almost any type of fruit, although peach, apricot, pear and plum are the most common types. Most of the pálinka consumed by the locals is homemade.

The sugars in the fruits are fermented by the bacteria that are found in the skin of the fruit or in its environment. When they exceed a figure close to 20% of alcohol, the bacteria die. The only way to raise the gradation is through artificial methods. This is where the alembic comes into play, a simple instrument that heats this liquid until it begins to evaporate.

As the alcohol evaporates before the water does, the result is that the product collected in the other container has more alcohol than originally. The origin of the drink dates back to the 14th century, and today it is still being consumed. Despite its strength, it is still sold in many stores and can be bought in most places. 

Here are some recommendations for where you can taste the finest pálinka in Hungary!

 

Pálinka Museum

Pálinka Museum

What better way to get to know pálinka than to go to its museum? Here you can find all the palinkas you want; plum, appricot, apple and raspberry among many others. Walk through the museum, or book a tasting - either way, it's not just an ordinary museum visit; it's an experience. Book your visit here!

 

House of Pálinka

pálinka shop

Located on one of the most important avenues in Budapest, we find the House of Pálinka . This is the perfect place to go if you want to take a deep dive into the history of the spirit you're sipping. The House of Pálinka shares all the history you need to know about the prized drink, as well as its importance throughout Hungary.

 

Szimpla Kert

Szimpla interior

Szimpla is one of the oldest ruin bars in the city, and perhaps the most well known. Bursting with color, music, and art, many people come here to sip a beer and take in the spectacle. But why not take it one step further and indulge in some brandy in this one-of-a-kind ruin bar. By day there are fairs, at night there is a party, and in this beautiful place you can consume a huge variety of pálinka.

 

Grandio Bar

Grandio Jungle Bar & Grill courtyard

A beautiful bar during the day and night, with a special touch of shoes hanging from the trees, you can't deny that there is something unique about this bar. Not only does it have delicious food, but it also offers a high variety of pálinka (take it from us, try the plum!).

 

No tourist who visits Hungary should miss out on this unique drink. If you are a first-timer in this country, raise a shot glass and take a sip of this formidable drink. Choose any one of these places to experience pálinka and enjoy the splendor of its taste!

 

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