Various bottles of SlivovitzSlivovitz or Slivovitsa (English pronunciation: /ˈslɪvəvɪts/; Bulgarian: сливовица slivovitsa, Serbian: Шљивовица šljivovica, Bosnian: šljìvovica, Croatian: šljìvovica, Czech: slivovice, German: Sliwowitz , Italian: slivovitz, Polish: śliwowica, Romanian: şliboviţă, Slovak: slivovica, Slovene: slivovka, Yiddish: שליבוביץ) is a distilled beverage made from Damson plums.It is frequently called plum brandy, and in the Balkans is part of the category of drinks called rakia.
The word Slivovitz derives from the Serbo-Croatian (Slavic) «šljiva» or Czech «slíva» – damson plum,whereas «-vice» /vɪtsɛ/ (in Czech version of the name) or «-vica» /vɪtsa/ (in Slovak, Croatian and Serbian) is a common postfix to add to the name of the brandy to distinguish what fruit was distilled (e.g. meruňka (apricot) → meruňkovice (apricot brandy), broskev (peach) → broskvovice (peach brandy), švestka/slíva (plum) → švestkovice/slivovice (plum brandy), …). The exact origins of Slivovitz are unknown but it is believed to have been first produced in the Balkans,Bosnia, Croatia,Serbia, Moravia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary or Bulgaria.
Production and consumption
Slivovitz is primarily produced in Slavic regions of Central and Eastern Europe, both commercially as well as by many households on an informal, homemade basis. Primary producers are in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and North-East Italy.It is most popularly consumed in those nations, as well as wherever communities of expatriate from these nations exist. Similar plum brandies are also produced in Switzerland, France, the United States, and Canada, but marketed under other names, such as brandy, Pflümli, or eau de vie.
In the manufacturing process, the plums and a liberal proportion of the ground kernels are first crushed and pressed, then starch and sugar may be added to the juice, and the mixture is allowed to ferment. Distillation gives the crude product, and clarifying processes complete the liqueur, but aging is required to develop its finer qualities. Its pleasing flavor is due largely to the plum kernels, which contain a considerable percentage of amygdalin, the characteristic component of bitter almonds.
Some producers have obtained a Hechsher for their slivovitz, certifying that it is kosher.
Imitation slivovitz is made by flavoring spirits with prune juice and artificial oil of bitter almonds.
The birthplace of this drink is Troyan Monastery. Behind its walls, the monks distilled slivovitsa ever since the foundation of the monastery in 14th century. The original recipy included 40 herbs and was passed through the centuries from abbot to abbot. Back in 1894 the plum brandy of the Troyan Monastery was presented at a spirits competition in Antwerp, Belgium, where it won a bronze medal. There, the world got to know about slivovitsa. Some of the secrets of Troyan slivova are the following: First, it is made of a plum variety that grows only in the Troyan Region. It is an old variety which the locals call «Madzharkini plums», very juicy and aromatic whose stone, unlike the Teteven plums, is easily removed from the fruit. Second, and very important condition for good brandy is that the fermentation vessel is as big as possible. Third, it is important that the destillation vessel is with a capacity 80 to 120 litres. Experienced distillers noticed that the same source material gives different taste of the end product depending on the distillation vessel. Fourth, the fruit quality is important; even a small amount of rotten plums deteriorates the brandy. The plum brandy should not be very strong: it is best in the range between 39 and 41 degrees. Then its flavor is most strongly felt and it is best to drink. Some of the most famous persons that tasted Troyanska Slivova are Pope John Paul II and the former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria celebrated his 95th birthday in 2009 in the Sofia Mitropoly with Troyanska Slivova.
In cooperation with the Bulgarian government, the Czech distillery Rudolf Jelinek protected the brands «Troyanska slivova» and «Tetevenska slivova» in the EU in 2007. The same year, this largest European manufacturer of fruit distillates bought a majority share in the largest Bulgarian slivovitsa vinery «Vinprom-Troyan» having bought half an year earlier the second largest «Destila Teteven». However, the Czechs reduced the alkohol content to pay less duty. The production of «Vinprom-Troyan» is mainly for export. For the past 18 years, Troyan has special holiday, The Festival of Plum. This holiday is celebrated at the end of September in Troyan and in the village of Oreshak where the Troyan Monastery is located. The cult for the plum in the Troyan region exists for ages. The plum has always been an essential produce in this region. Since the beginning of 20th century of plum were made marmalades, pesto, dried prunes, and pulps which were exported in Western Europe. Of course, this fruit is most important as a raw material for the production of Troyanska slivova.
Troyanska Slivova (owned by Rudolf Jelínek)
Tetevenska Slivova (owned by Rudolf Jelínek)
Elenska Slivova (owned by the Lyaskovets winery)
Svetsko a naseSerbian Šljivovica is consumed chilled in a special shot glass called «čokanji-čokanjčići» («fićok-fićuci» in Vojvodina) of 0.03 to 0.05 dl.
In 2004, over 400 000 litres of Šljivovica was produced in Serbia.
Following the claims of several nations to the protected designation of origin, in October 2007 the European Union went for a compromise solution, leaving «slivovitz» as a generic name, and granting individual nations the right to protect the origin with their own adjective. Thus, «Serbian Slivovitz» (Srpska šljivovica) will become Serbia’s first certified national brand.
The most famous and most popular region for making and use of Šljivovica is Šumadija region.
There is also a town in Zlatibor, called Šljivovica.
Wolf Inter Export|Stefan Nemanja slivovitz
Old Herold (Bošacka slivovica)
Myjavská slivovica 52°
Croatian Šljivovica and Slovenian Slivovka, two different names for the same drinkUnited States
Black Star Farms
Clear Creek Distillery
Peach Street Distillers