What you need to know about Palinka

Palinka, as a typical Hungarian drink and Hungarikum, is a remarkable speciality in Hungarian culture.

First of all, let’s clarify the meaning of this beverage. What can we call palinka?
Palinka is nothing else, but fruit distillate which is produced from fruits or grape marc specifically grown and produced in Hungary. It has an alcohol percentage of at least 37,5% and contains no extra additives.

The quality criteria were written in law, and the EU Protected Designations of Origin states that unadulterated palinka derives from Hungary. In 2008 the Palinka Act regulated the most important requirements related to the production of palinka. 
As of that year, 8 types of palinka have received protected designation of origin

How do we consume palinka? Basically you can drink it whenever you like but always in moderation. Usually Hungarians serve it before or after a meal. Due to its high alcohol percentage and intensity it is an ideal beverage with spicy dishes as well.

When drinking palinka we consider 3 basic rules:

1. Temperature: it is best drunk when its around 16°C-17°C. In this temperature range you can most enjoy the fruitiness and aromas.
2. Shape of glass: it is recommended to drink palinka from a tulip-shaped glass, as due to its narrow-bottle design it perfectly amplifies the fruit flavours.
3. Appropriate serving time: once you have poured the palinka, allow it to breathe for just 2-3 minutes. During this time the components will became notably active.

Of course, we don’t take the above points very seriously because we drink palinka either way. These are the official criterias in order to serve it perfectly. We may all agree, that palinka is a must-to-drink and an important element of Hungarian folk culture. If you are visiting Budapest you should definitely try this speciality!