unicum and zwack cocktails

We’ve been drinking Zwack for a few years now, that sweet, slightly bitter and very herbal liqueur that’s native to Hungary. It’s one of three liqueurs in the House of Zwack portfolio, which also includes Unicum (first crafted in 1790 for the Emperor of Hungary) and Unicum Plum, a new addition to the lineup. Unicum Plum was launched in 2012, and is created by aging macerated plums with Unicum for six months in oak casks.

Unicum and Zwack are traditionally consumed as shots, but their herbal makeup gives you plenty to work with when mixing drinks. Case in point: these seasonal cocktails from Joaquín Simó, the New York City bartender best known for his work at Death and Co. and Pouring Ribbons. See below for the recipes.

Hungarian Orchard

1 ounce Zwack
1/2 ounce apple brandy
1 ounce fresh orange juice
Apple slices for garnish
Fresh grated cinnamon for garnish

Combine Zwack, apple brandy and orange juice into a cocktail with ice and shake vigorously. Strain contents into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with apple slices and fresh grated cinnamon.

Masked Man

1/2 ounce Unicum
1 ounce apple brandy
1/2 ounce pumpkin spice syrup
1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
Grated nutmeg for garnish

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir well and strain contents into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Unicum Plum Cobbler

1 ounce Unicum Plum
1/2 ounce apéritif
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup
3 pieces strawberry preserves
3 dashes aromatic bitters
Lemon peel for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake vigorously. Pour contents into a Nick & Nora glass (or a coupe). Garnish with lemon peel.

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