Hungary has a huge drinking tradition, so demands revived supplies, and the results came out to be quite exquisite. On the turn of the 20th Century such revolutionary drinks and trends enriched the pubs of Hungary, some of them even has it’s original taste nowadays, but in a more modern form. Let’s see what was in the glass a hundred years ago!
The biggest favourites are obviously the products of the Zwack industry. Unicum was as popular since they first released it in its famous, green orb glass as it is now. The bitter liqueur is a protected brand since 1883, so that means hungarians drink Dr. Zwack’s invention for more than a hundred years. There wasn’t a pub in Budapest where this uniquely bitter spirit was not available along with its specific advertisement. Unicum conquered the world to come back home in the end, to the factory on the side of the Danube.
Absynthe, admired by the artist world, had a really bad reputation back in the days, although these times were flourishing for this drink. The french drink soon broke in to the country, it was available in Budapest and in Debrecen as well. According to the public opinion back then this was the first liqueur that ladies could drink too. The former pharmatic mixture shortly became a popular and usual afternoon drink. Many people worried about its effects as this mixture of wine and herbs often caused a strong addiction. Nowadays we know that obviously every other alcoholic drink can cause addiction, but the contemporary doctors were a bit overreacting about absynthe back then. Today you can find it in any pubs or stores, often served with burning sugar.
The other famous product of Zwack factory, the invention of Maximilian Zwack, the tokaji brandy became very admired in hungarian pubs after its 1912 release. Zwack created this mixture of brandy, fine spirits and herbs to start up brandy manufacturing in Hungary. It was produced until the 2nd World War, consumed it clean or mixed with soda. The recipe disappeared after the war, the legend says it was found in a cabinet when the Zwack Museum was built. The company then started to produce this drink again by the name Maximilian.
A hundred years ago there were no ruin pubs, as the houses they are located at weren’t even built or they were just a few years old. One thing is for sure though: our ancestors basically drank the same drinks as we do nowadays. Discover Budapest nightlife and have a Unicum for the memory of them!