When in Rome, do as Romans. When in Budapest, do shots at the bar. We’re paraphrasing somewhat there, but there is plenty of alcohol to be drank in Budapest and plenty of time to savour every drop. What do the locals drink? Well, they certainly don’t drink Austrian beer or Italian wine, and neither should they. Budapest has plenty of its alcoholic babies, thank you very much. We should be clear that we mean alcoholic drinks that were born here, not literal alcoholic babies. What’s said is said.
Fancy a pálinka? The answer is ‘no’, but the reality is very much a ‘yes’. This national fruit brandy serves in much the same way rakija does in the Balkans — you’re never more than 10 metres from someone offering you it.
Hungary is one of Europe’s great wine-making countries and a proud history to back it up, with tonnes and tonnes of the stuff made across the country. Hungary is actually home to 22 wine regions, mostly focused in the south of the country, although its most famous is in the north. Tokaji wine is legendary, for a lot of reasons.
Okay, Hungarians do drink Austrian beer from time to time, but there are plenty of decent national options for anyone not interested in a stale Gösser. Soproni is the most visible.
Soproni is actually owned by Heineken, so it isn’t that Hungarian after all. Want to know what is? Quality Hungarian craft beers, that’s what. There are more to try than we can list, so get yourself to Eleszto, KEG or Hopaholic and see what is on tap.
No, that isn’t a typo. Cola wine is exactly what its name suggests it is, a mad scientist mix of cola and wine that has gained in popularity in Hungary. Why? We haven’t the foggiest, but don’t resist. You might be a little surprised.
How to say cheers?
The Hungarian language is officially classified as ‘completely insane’, so good luck remembering this. The way to say cheers in Hungarian is ‘Egészségére’. Egészségére. Something like ‘Egg-ee-sheg-ee-rah’. Best of luck.