|Nagykörű is the village where blossoming cherry covers an area of more than 490 acres. One of the oldest Hungarian distilleries can be found here. According to the data of inventory as early as 1810 taxes were paid on each still of distilled pálinka.
I started to work in the distillery as an Áfész employee in 1983. In 1990 I purchased the distillery and at that time we were hired to distil 30-35 thousand hectolitre degrees of pálinka a year. Nowadays, unfortunately we distil only 8-10 thousand hectolitre degrees a year. Having more than 20 years of professional practice and work experience we are ready to distil pálinka and happy to sell our products to our customers.
In 2008 I was licensed for commercial distillation and in November this year nine types of pálinka flavours came onto the market.
The art of pálinka distillation:
1. Processing ripe and high standard of fruit (cutting up and removing the pips from the fruit)
2. Controlled fermentation
3. The distiller's competence, the selection of the proper distillate
4. Resting, aging and bottling of pálinka
These components are all necessary for producing pálinka and they make it a special Hungarian product.
Moderate pálinka consumption is a delightful experience.
A little history
In the neighbourhood of Buda special brandy (pálinka) bottles of the13th century were found, so brandy was already transported from Italy to Hungary at that time. (Bottles were only made in Italy in those days.) By the 14th century at least royal doctors must have known this new "medicinal draught".
The first document mentions the year of 1332.
In 1656 Joannes Praevotius, who worked in Frankfurt, published his book entitled Opera medica and in the first part of the book he mentioned the Hungarian queen?s water. In fact, this water was brandy aromatized with rosemary. Virtually it was medicine, so it was not consumed as spirits (cp. Swedish bitters today). According to the extract from Praevotius s book Queen Elizabeth cured her own arthritis using this rosemary brandy. It is also known that our king, Károly Róbert was badly arthritic, and it was the reason for breaking off his Italian journey in 1332. Arthritis does not subside quickly, but nevertheless our king recovered from it and after 1332 this disease was not mentioned in connection with him any more. This alcoholic drink was referred to as Aqua vitae reginae Hungariae the Hungarian queen's elixir of long life. The drink reached the royal towns and royal court through Italian merchants. The expression hard liquor was generally known for a long time and nowadays it is still used here and there.
In the age of King Matthias distillates made from fruit and made from grain were already distinguished. The latter ones were called crematum, crematura.
From the 16th century the word pálinka borrowed from Slovak language was used for expressing distillates made from grain. The different versions of the word are gorolyka, gorelyka, gurulyka, goselka, rabasunka, brabasunka. In the form of babinka pálinka appeared in Debrecen in 1572. The name tótpálinka also refers to the Slovak origin. In the Carpathian Basin the technology of distillation spread from north to south. The Slav word also refers to the fact that pálinkas land of origin must have been somewhere in the Northern-Carpathian Basin. Before the 16th century spirits were considered as medicine.
The word pálinka came into general use in Hungarian from the 17th century, but it was used for distillate from grain at that time.
The production of small-scale plants and distilleries established from 1799 developed the central regulations of distillation.
In 1836 the landowner's privilege came into force and then tax on pálinka was levied. From 1850 the government monopolized spirits.
In the Hungarian territory of the time 105129 distilleries were registered in 1851.
In the 1920's the government significantly restricted the production of spirits. In Hungary 260 distilleries worked in 1920, then in 1970 the number increased to1070. In 1982 some 815 distilleries were at work in the country.
Meanwhile, different measures were taken in connection with distillation, such as prohibition of alcoholic drinks at the time of Hungarian Soviet Republic and between 1952 and 1970 share-distillation when half the produce was given to the state and half of it could be kept by the owner.
The patron saint of distillation was Saint Nicholas.