The 230 year old family secret
Distilled from over forty herbs and spices, Unicum is one of the oldestherb liqueurs in Europe. The production process and the more than 225 years old secret recipe have remained the same since Unicum was invented in 1790. The production today is in the hands of Sándor and Izabella Zwack, the 6th generation of the Zwack family. Some special ingredients, known as the „heart of Unicum”, are personally weighed out by a family member.
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 of 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 an 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 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 different oak casks
Unicum in the world
Unicum has always been an international brand, even in the 1930s. Today we are still exporting to more than 45 countries. Unicum is available on 4 continents.
An intersection of unique hungarian products
As with Unicum, Unicum Plum is made from the distillation and extraction of more than 40 selected herbs and spices. Dried plums are then added to the blend of the two procedures and the liqueur is subsequently further aged in oak casks. Unicum Plum is the first herbal liqueur in the world that is aged on a bed of dried plums: it maintains the strong character of Unicum but with a round, velvety finish.
It has an abv of 34,5%
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.
In 2017, Zwack launched a new member of the Unicum family: the super premium Unicum Riserva. The Unicum which forms the structure of this liqueur is aged in the largest and oldest – over 80–year-old – barrel in the cellars of Soroksári Street in Budapest. Ageing continues in the typical small casks of Tokaj cellars where a small quantity of 6 Puttonyos Tokaji Aszú wine from Izabella Zwack’s Dobogó winery is blended in.
It has an abv of 40%
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.
Pour Unicum Riserva over three big ice cubes.
In 2020, after nearly three years work in developing the brand, we proudly introduced the newest member of the Unicum family, Unicum Barista.
With Unicum Barista, which is a blend of Unicum and 100% Arabica coffee, we approached the time-honoured tradition of consuming a herb liqueur with coffee in an innovative way.