A Toast to Unicum, Hungary’ s National Drink

Posted in: Hungary


Photo by TraceyF
Photo by TraceyF

One of the chief pleasures of visiting another country is sampling its special food and drink. If you visit Hungary you expect to taste the goulash (gulyás), which you may be surprised to find is a soup, not a stew you should also expect to have a shot of the national drink, unicum.

Unicum is a dark brown bitter sweet liqueur, made from herbs and beloved by Hungarians as a pick-you-up. It is instantly recognizable in its round, jet black bottle, which has not changed for six generations.

As well as tasting unicum, you may also consider paying a visit to the Unicum Heritage Vistitors’ Centre (www.zwackunicum.hu) which charts the colourful history of the drink and of the Zwack family, who invented it. The museum houses one of the largest collections of miniature bottles in the world?15,000 of them. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., and a tour, including a tasting session at the end, will cost you 1,500 forints.

About the author

Melanie lives in Budapest with her Hungarian husband and two daughters, Rose and Thea. She teaches English and Psychology in an International School in the city and is studying for a Masters Degree in Children's Literature.

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