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Eastern Europe

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Eastern Europe

Postby Bobtuse » Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:50 pm

I had the opportunity to get to eastern europe recently, specifically Croatia and Budapest. Of course I made it a priority to search out local liquor and try as much as I could.

Spent a layover day in Bari Italy, so of course my mission there was to find Nocino, never having any "real" stuff and compare to what I made up. Only luck I managed to have was a bottle shop that sold the stuff, they had one variety, priced at 165 euro. I nearly shit myself. But it did come with a nice little package of biscotti tied around the neck. Of note, that shop also had an aged Polish vodka. 6 years, IIRC, kind of a pale straw like color. Probably should have picked that one up...

On the ferry over to Croatia, I did spy a bottle of green walnut liqueur in the duty free shop so I bought it, at 7 euro it was quite the bargain, I thought. Nasty crap that tasted like sugar water and a hint of walnut. Left that one in a hotel room.... They called it Orahovac. Seems the Croats make all kinds of flavored brandies. mostly way way too sweet. I got a small bottle of a fig brandy called Smokvica. Would be good on pancakes..

I did of course try the Slivovica, plum brandy. I had two versions, very good, and paint thinner. The very good was much like the eau de vie, white, alcoholic, and with good fruit notes in there.

What I did have that I knew nothing about going in, and liked so much I dragged a bottle around with me to bring home, was Pelinkovac. A very nice digestif, herbal and earthy. Trying to pick out the flavors I came up with Thyme, fennel, and sage. Turns out it is made from Wormwood. Anyway, very nice after a meal on ice, or before with soda and a slice of lemon.

The local moonshine there is called reikja, and it seems everyone and their mother make it. and fairly well too, I got to sample it two different times, once from an old lady who had 2 120 litre stainless tanks full in her basement...about $10usd/litre, bring your own plastic jug. Couldnt get anyone to tell me what it was made from though, it wasnt clear, kinda pale pale color to it. There are a lot of grapes as well as plum trees there so I would guess brandy based. Lightly herbed but indistinct. Very smooth though, no harshness, no heads or tails noticible which i confess i kinda expected from it.

Maraska is the big distillery in Croatia, and their most known export is the cherry liqueur. Maraska is the original cherry that maraschino came from. These bear no resemblence to the unnatural red globs that often come in drinks however. The liqueur is like a cherry eau de vie backsweetened, but not to the point of cloyingly sweet. One glass is very nice, but not the type of thing you would drink a lot of. Its clear, I had it served straight, room temp ish, with a coffee bean floating in it.

Budapest had every kind of eau de vie imaginable, My favorite was the sour cherry. Couldnt locate any shine there.

Both places had liquor freely available in almost every shop that served food, hamburger stands, cafes, you name it, no problems drinking in the morning or in public. It was a nice freedom.

Fun stuff, and nice to come back with different ideas and tastes!

Bob
Honey, "check to see if my nuts are still there, I can't feel my nuts!"
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Re: Eastern Europe

Postby minime » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:48 am

Very nice report on your excursion.............. :8)
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Re: Eastern Europe

Postby punkin » Sat Jul 02, 2011 3:07 pm

Yes, great info and an interesting read. Cheers Bob :beer:
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