Beer, Wine & Everything Divine

Hungary's wonderful riches of wine and viticulture is perhaps one of Europe's best kept secrets. Tokaji, a sweet dessert wine and Bull's Blood, a full bodied red from Eger are known worldwide, but there is much more to sip, sniff and guzzle in Budapest.

Every harvest, the Budavári Wine Festival brings producers large and small together in the Buda Castle for a comprehensive muster of everything viticultural. The winemaking traditions of Budafok date back to Roman times and its  40kms long interconnected system of cellars is unique in Europe; this is where the Sparkling Wine and Wine Festival takes place every year. The prestigious VinCe  Budapest Wine Show is the biggest and best in the region, and there are festivals dedicated to particular varieties, like Olaszrizling October or Furmint February.

Throughout the year there are a plethora of wine bars offering a wide sortiment from local cellars: young winemaker specialists DiVino Gozsdu and DiVino Bazilika, cosy Dobló, youthful Kadarka, fashionable Innio, chic Palack in Buda and Michelin star restaurant Borkonyha where dishes are paired with perfect wines. For a bit of sparkle, try the Hungarian bubbly, Törley sparkling wines. Founded in 1882, today there is no Hungarian celebration without a bottle of Törley. For guided tours and tastings, visit the Törley Visitor Centre.

The more than 150 year old Dreher beer brewery can be found in Kőbánya, tours of the historical brew house, beer museum and a tasting of some of Hungary's favourite beers are available. Kaltenberg Restaurant has been brewing its own beer on the premises for almost 30 years. Legenda Sörfőzde microbrewery produces award winning top-fermentation beers, and the Fóti Brewery makes specialty beers alongside classic lagers. Many pubs and bars offer artisanal beers on their drinks menu, but Kandalló, Élesztő and Jónás Kézműves Sörház specialise in Hungarian and imported craft beers.

The story of Unicum goes back to 1790, when Dr Zwack offered the herbal liqueur to Emperor Joseph II as a digestive. Visitors to the Zwack museum also get a tour of the Unicum cellar labyrinth with over 500 oak barrels, and taste this legendary tonic straight from the tap.

The Hungarian national drink is of course pálinka – a brandy distilled exclusively from fruits and with no additional ingredients – with EU protected designation of origin. Every restaurant and pub serves pálinka, but to get a taste of the really good stuff visit a bar dedicated to this Hungarian speciality, like Abszolút Pálinka, PálinkaShop & Drinkbar or Rézangyal Bistro. Once a year the Budapest Pálinka Festival brings together the best producers of this noble spirit.