TOP 5 LIQUEURS FROM SLOVENIA
While guiding bicycle tours of Ljubljana and showing all the cool spots in our city to foreigners, we get all sorts of questions. A lot of times people want to know about traditional food and drinks. In terms of liqueurs here are the most special one you can taste in Slovenia. After the bike tour, specially if it is in slightly colder months, go sit in a bar and warm yourself with one of this ones.
Don't worry if you are not a beer or wine lover. There are other and stronger options for you in Slovenia. "Šnops" (schnaps) or "sadjevec" applies to spirits distilled from any type of fruit. In our case it is most commonly made from apples, pears or plums. The percent of alcohol is usually between 40% and 60%. To soften this up a little and to add more specific taste, we have a wide array of liqueurs, perfect as aperitifs. Here are ours top five, very specific for Slovenia.
Pine buds liqueur
This is definitely our favourite one. A fine flavour of this liqueur will take you directly into pine tree forest! Being one of the most forested country of Europe we don't have a shortage of ingredients for this drink. Pine buds are also rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants which makes this a must, specially in cold winter months.
Slovenia is famous for its beekeeping. Slovene Anton Janša was a pioneer of modern api-culture and a teacher of this trade in Habsburg court in Vienna. With his knowledge and pristine environment we get great quality honey, which is crucial for a fine sweet drink in the end!
Blueberry liqueur or simply "borovničke" (little blueberries) is a very common sweet aperitif, specially in hilly area of Pohorje and whole Štajerska region. Key ingredient - wild forest blueberries, hand picked. It is a well practised activity in summer, you can easily spot a "blueberry-picker" by having completely red fingertips. :) Usually there are some blueberries floating in the bottle as well, so its likely they end up in your glass.
Teran is a geographically protected red wine from Slovenian region of Kras. It comes from an indigenous vine called Refošk, which dramatically change the grapes when it grows on very specific red soil "terra rossa". It has a fruity-acidic note (raspberries, red current) and high values of iron. It was even prescribed by doctors back in the days to anaemic people. This liqueur is based on Teran wine and not distilled spirit.
We have to mention juniper spirit even though it is not a liqueur. If you are thinking about gin, read further. This drink " brinjevec" is an actually distilled from juniper berries. It takes eight kilograms of berries to make one litre of juniper spirit and only 20 grams to make one litre of gin!! Best ones again comes from Kras, although juniper bushes are more rare this days (bush fires and natural forestation). For more read a great interview with Erik Sarkič.
We hope you will try a few of this liqueurs on your visit to Slovenia and maybe even bring them home as great souvenirs! Let us know which is your favourite one, or do you fancy one that is not on this list?
Text: Tevž Černigoj