Hungary’s National Shot: Zwack Unicum

Commonly known to be the national shot of Hungary, Zwack was first invented in 1790 by Dr. József Zwack, the Royal Physician of Habsburg for Emporer Joseph II. Created from a secret blend of forty herbs and spices, the resulting drink carries a bold herbal flavor as distinctive as the liqueur’s packaging. In 1840, Dr. Zwack’s son founded J. Zwack & Co., the first Hungarian liquor factory. The drink soon became a staple of the national landscape. The factory was destroyed in WWII and then nationalized in 1948 under the Communist occupation of Hungary. The original secret family recipe remained protected and a replicated version continued to sell until the Zwack family re-purchased the business from the state in 1989 and re-introduced the original recipe a year later.