There are a lot of reasons for drinking pálinka. You may simply love it, it is a common feature of pig slaughterings, or you might just want to use it against the cold. It is an excellent cure for boredom, too. However, there are more scientific reasons as to why pálinka is good for you, detailed in a video making its rounds on Facebook and YouTube.
What is real pálinka?
First things first, let us clarify what constitutes as real pálinka. Drinks can be referred to as pálinka in Hungary and four Austrian counties, officially. However, while Austrian pálinka can only be made from apricots, Hungarian pálinka can be made from any kind of fruit that is grown in this country, like cherries, plums and pears. So, to make it clear, here are some examples that distinguish the ‘fake’ pálinka from the real deal. If it is made from imported fruits, it cannot be called real Hungarian pálinka. Also, if you produced it in Hungary but went abroad to get it bottled, it is still not real pálinka.
Photo: Tropical Magazine
According to the 2008 regulation on pálinka, it can only be called pálinka if it is made in Hungary, from Hungarian-grown fruits, without the addition of any other ingredients.
If you think about it, this means pálinka is made 100% from fruits, and you are supposed to have 5 portions of fruit a day, so it is totally healthy 😉 An interesting thought to consider is that pálinka did, in fact, use to be called ‘aqua vitae’, meaning the water of life.
Addressing the myths
Can pálinka chase away the cold?
Well, it is true that consuming alcohol leads to a warm feeling spreading inside you, nevertheless, if you want reliable protection, a new knitted jumper might be a better option. However, pálinka can cause blood vessels to dilate and blood to rush to the extremities, raising the risks of hypothermia. So, definitely do not try to save money on heating by drinking more pálinka.
On the other hand, once you are battling a cold or a fever, pálinka might be able to help you.
It is a good old method to mix 2 teaspoons of honey into 2 cl of pálinka, get it to a boil, then drink it. However, it is best to be aware if you take medicine, too, as they do not mix well with alcohol.
Is pálinka a good aperitif?
It is a widespread belief to regard pálinka as a great appetiser. However, consumed before a meal, pálinka can be really harmful to an empty stomach. On the other hand, consumed after a meal, it does affect digestion positively.
In fact, those who make sure to down a small portion of good-quality spirits after a meal rarely have to deal with bloating or heartburn.
Can pálinka help athletes?
Well, not in the way you immediately thought of – getting drunk does not make you run faster. However, if you suffer from cramping legs, you might want to try rubbing a bit of pálinka onto your calves. Also, thanks to the previously mentioned vasodilating effects, it is considered to be one of the best cures for high blood pressure.
In the past, pálinka was universally regarded as medicine. They used it to prevent gastric infections, to reduce inflammation, while it is also an excellent painkiller.
If you are still not convinced pálinka has beneficial qualities, this last fascinating tidbit might just get you.
The patron of pálinka distillers is Saint Nicholas.
Surely a beverage that is made by people protected by Santa Claus himself can only be a good choice.