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Episode 11: Zwack Unicum
Episode 1119th June 2020 • Liquor and Liqueur Connoisseur • Matt Birchard
00:00:00 00:24:00

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Episode 11 is dedicated to Zwack Unicum, the national drink of Hungary. It's a bittersweet herb liqueur bottled at 40% alcohol by volume, 80 proof.

Enjoy this episode with some Zwack neat!

Zwack's official website:

Brief Historical Timeline:

  • 1790 - Unicum invented by Dr. Zwack
  • 1840 - Zwack Company founded to commercialize Unicum
  • 1883 - Hungarian trademark for Unicum issued
  • 1890s - The Zwack distillery produces more than 200 products
  • 1892 - New distillery completed on the banks of the Danube
  • 1895 - "Sole Purveyors to the Imperial and Royal Court of Emperor Franz Josef" designation
  • 1899 - Begin using the Red Cross on bottles
  • 1930s - Company run by brothers Bela and Jonas Zwack
  • 1940s - WWII destroys the distillery
  • 1945-48 - Distillery rebuilt
  • 1948 - Communist regime confiscates the distillery and business
  • 1958 - Janos wins an injunction agains the US importer
  • 1970s - Peter Zwack, son of Bela, oversees Unicum production in Italy
  • 1988 - Peter partners with the state-run Zwack distillery in Hungary
  • 1992 - Peter and partners buy out the state at the fall of communism
  • 1993 - Zwack Unicum Company listed on the Budapest Stock Exchange
  • 2004 - Unicum Next introduced

Key Cocktail:

Zwack isn't very suitable for mixing.

You simply drink it neat. Or chilled, many in Hungary keep a bottle in the freezer.


Hungarian Unicum website:

Taste of Hungary Article

CNN article on Hungary's National Drink

Wikipedia article on Zwack

Bon Appetit article on Zwack Unicum

Contact Information:

Official show website is:



Twitter: @LLConnoisseur