The most important thing to know when it comes to drinking in Slovakia is that some locally brewed spirits may be stronger than what you are used to, and that the standard shot glass is 40 ml, which may be more than what you are used to, too :) Slovakia produces some well-known spirits and they all have a common name “pálenka” which means schnapps. Now we’ll guide you through those which you should definitely try while in Bratislava – and choose those that taste the best to you :)
Slivovica is the most traditional Slovak drink. It has a plum taste, is quite strong (30 – 52 %) and best enjoyed chilled. This plum brandy can also be found under the name “slivka.” The most famous brand is Spiš Originál. There are also other flavors of this drink. The most popular is the pear one called “hruškovica” or “hruška” but you can also try the blueberry (čučoriedka), raspberry (malina) or apricot (marhuľa) flavors.
Tatratea is considered to be our national drink because it originated in the High Tatra mountains. The story goes that people in the mountains used to drink herbal tea mixed with concentrated alcohol to keep themselves warm. In 2003 the idea of a tea-based herbal liqueur was created by Karloff. Tatratea is composed of black & white teas, herbs and natural fruit extracts and it comes in many flavors. Its most popular drink is Tatratea 52 % Original but you can get bottles from 17 to 72 %. The best is to drink it chilled or with an ice cube, and it also serves as the basis of long mixed drinks.
Bentianna is a blend of honey and herbs and is the newest Slovak drink. Its original recipe comes from the Benedictine monks of the former monastery at the foot of the High Tatras. It contains no artificial additives or flavourings. It has low alcohol content (13 %) and is suitable both before and after meals, as a refreshment and appetizer. It can be served neat, on the rocks as well as a basis of long drinks.
Demänovka is a Slovak herbal liqueur that originated in the 1960s and is made by St. Nicolaus. It comes in a sweet version (33 %), bitter version (38 %) and cranberry flavor (30 %). It is made from 14 kinds of herbs, honey and water from Tatras. It can be enjoyed solo or mixed in a cocktail.
Borovička is a Slovak alcoholic beverage flavored with juniper berries. It tastes similar as a dry gin and contains about 40% alcohol. As a benchmark, the minimum alcohol amount required by law in Slovakia is 37,5%. There are more major brands which produce it.
Karpatské brandy is the most famous Slovak brandy made of young wine. It has a deep amber color, strong aroma and its flavor reminiscent of dried fruit and fine chocolate. There are four kinds of this drink: Karpatské brandy Originál (36 %) with caramel undertones, Karpatské brandy Špeciál (40 %) which is made from eau-de-vie of the best wines in the region (my suggestion), Karpatské brandy Exclusive (40 %) with a hint of vanilla wood, and a classic Karpatské brandy KB (40 %).