Subject: Re: Strange liquors in interesting places
Hello fellow imbibers,

Some of the more unique spirits we've tried include Unicum in Budapest. At our pension each evening the hosts would open the bar for an aperitif. Having seen the unusual ads for Unicum all throughout Budapest Sara decided she'd give it a shot. The unusual blend of strong herbs and sweetness was not to her taste. But at least she gave it a shot. If you've never had Unicum or have and are a fan the Zwack distillery has a great website at :

In Ljubljana we sampled zganje, a plum eau-de-vie, while enjoying the view from the 12th floor location of the Neboticnik Terasa cafe. In Croatia and the Czech Republic we mostly stuck to beers, pivo cerné (dark beer) being our favorite. Although we are pleased to discover that the real Budweiser (Budvar)a delightful pilsner from Cesky Budejovice is finally being marketed in the U.S. as Czechvar.

In Spain I was pleased to run across Licor Cuarenta y Tres (43), a liqueur I had occasion to pour during my years as a bartender. This vanilla liqueur is tasty with steamed milk in a concoction known as a Santa Teresa (imagine if you will a liquid glazed doughnut). I also mix it with a little vodka and orange juice, shaken over ice, and poured up in a martini glass (tastes just like a 50-50 bar). It's website is at:

On our most recent trip to Europe I picked up a bottle of Oude Genever in Amsterdam and a mirabelle eau-de-vie in Luxembourg. The first because I like the stoneware bottle, the second to use in cooking. The Dutch gin is very different to palates weaned on English gin.

In Mexico, ohhhh Mexico, we've had our most enjoyable experiences with distilled spirits. Whether it be at a family expendio along a dirt road in Oaxaca (home-distilled mezcal), a pulque bar in Jalisco, or sampling a friend's family-recipe tequila from Morelos it's all been good. And don't think Mexico's spirits are confined to tequila, mezcal, and Kahlua. There are wonderful liqueurs such as Almendrada (almond-infused tequila) and Xtabentun, a distilled honey and herb liqueur from the Yucatan.

Of course, I haven't mentioned the wines we've brought back. In fact, a 1997 Chivite from the Navarre in Spain is calling out to me right now.

John planning the appropriate dinner for his Spanish red wine in San Diego