Hungary’s National Shot: Zwack Unicum

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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.