One as an aperitif, and one with dessert – Istria's aromatic brandies are authentic symbols of traditional Istrian hospitality, warmly greeting and seeing off guests at every meal.
The base of all Istrian brandies and liqueurs is lozovača or komovica, a hard alcohol derived by distilling wine pomace. However, trying to list all of its flavours, combinations and variations would be a futile task. Nearly everything that grows on Istria's fertile land can end up in a glass of this irresistible elixir, which has served for centuries as a miraculous cure for all diseases and ailments. Today, Istrian brandies represent an irreplaceable icon of Istrian cuisine and hospitality. However, regardless of the indescribably strong competition, there is only room for three on the podium...
Istria's holy trinity
Biska, ruda and medica are traditional Istrian brandies that must always find themselves on the table of every household.
Biska is made by adding a macerate of two species of mistletoe to the base. It is yellowish-brown in colour, has a rich vegetal aroma and a pleasantly bitter taste that opens the appetite – the mischievous say it also loosens the tongue.
Ruda is made by soaking the above-ground parts of the rue plant in the base. It is notable for its nearly fluorescent green colour and famous for its healing properties. Hosts will make sure to offer you some if you complain of stomach problems.
Medica is made by adding honey to komovica or lozovača. Its brilliant colour and thick mouthfeel are like liquid gold. It is always served chilled, and its dangerously sweet honey flavour provides the first and last note to every traditional Istrian meal.
Brandy with everything, brandy for everyone
However, the real adventure is just beginning. Heady teranino wine liqueur, refreshing, bitter carob brandy, the luxurious flavours and scents of fig brandy, the spirited, bright, irresistibly sweet notes of cherry liqueur, exciting, tart wild apple brandy, irresistibly aromatic mint brandy, refreshing wild rose brandy, seductive limoncello, and all kinds of berry brandies... We make brandy from everything in Istria, so it's no surprise you can taste world-class brandies with the timeless classics of Istrian cuisine such as truffles, asparagus and olives.
It's hard to list them all, let alone try all the irresistible flavours of homemade Istrian brandies. But it's worth a shot, isn't it? Cheers!