The 225 year old family secret

Distilled from over forty herbs, Unicum is one of the oldest herb liqueurs in Europe. The way of production and the secret recipe has remained the same since Unicum was invented in 1790 and after six generations is still in the Zwack family. Now we reveal some of the secrets.

The Herbs

The majority of the herbs, and spices used in Unicum comes from the Carpathian basin, but ingredients are also imported from Morocco, China, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Americas and Australia. The herbs are measured by hand to this day, while some special ingredients, known as the „heart” of Unicum, are personally weighed out by a family member, currently by Péter Zwack’s widow, Anne Marshall Zwack.


The 2 ways of extracting flavour/fragrance is maceration and distillation. In the case of Unicum half the herbs are macerated, the others are distilled. Sometimes the same herb is used in maceration and distillation. During maceration, the herbs are immersed in corn alcohol, a process that gives intensive, rich taste to the drink.

Blending in wooden vat

The macerated and distilled herbs are then blended together in a traditional wooden vat. To ensure that the Unicum should be consistent in quality, the Master Distiller together with a Tasting committee, headed by a member of the family, frequently taste the Unicum from the vat.

Ageing in oak casks

Ageing in oak casks confers on Unicum the final complexities in taste and bouquet. Unicum has been aged in oak ever since it was invented in 1790. In a labyrinth of cellars running under the Soroksári Road distillery Unicum today is aged in 500 oak casks.

Unicum Plum

An intersection of unique hungarian products

Like Unicum, Unicum Plum, made with plum native in Hungary, is also producedfrom forty different herbs and special spices from five continents, according to a secret family recipe which has been in the Zwack family for 225 years.

Centuries of history

The unique nature of this drink is guaranteed by Unicum itself. The secret family recipe has remained the same, just like the method of aging the liqueur in oak casks, so Unicum Plum preserved its traditional qualities.

Yet still unique

Like Unicum, Plum has the same secret process of preparing. The only difference between the two Unicums is that Plum is the first herb liqueur in the world to be also aged on dried plums which gives this new Zwack liqueur a distinctive harmony and a rounded, velvety and fruity taste. Unicum classic is aged in red,Unicum Plum is aged in gold edged barrels.

Unicum Riserva

Ageing Unicum in the 80-year-old cask

Unicum Riserva is aged not once, but twice, in two very different and special casks. The original Unicum is aged first in the largest and oldest cask in the cellars which gives this herb liqueur still more depth and character.

Over the decades the wood has acquired a coating of what we call “black honey” which gives the Unicum still more depth and character.

Ageing in Tokaji Aszú barriques

The secondary ageing is in a Tokaji Aszú cask where for years this legendary wine has aged in the cellars of Tokaj. Thus Unicum Riserva combines in perfect harmony the intriguing and exotic herbs with the seductive honeyed essence of Tokaj.

Perfect serve

Pour Unicum Riserva over three big ice cubes.