Brinjevec, the worst ever!

BrinjevecThose of you who are familiar with Western Norway, know that there are some pretty shady products brewing in the pots and stills below the steep mountains by the fjords. However, compared to Brinjevec – the main objective of this article – “our” moonshine tast like fresh apples.

It was in September in the year of the Lord 2006 I first came to encounter Brinjevec. The occasion was a business trip to Slovenia and an evening of high spirit in the captial of the said country, Ljubljana. In the company of my two excellent accomplices, Torbjørn and Tommy, I entered in a bar where we asked the waiter to keep the drinks flowing until further notice. Closing time, however, came first.

At some stage it became evident that good quality would be wasted on our anasthetised taste buds and so we changed the strategy to asking the waiter to bring the worst alcoholic fluids on sale in his establishment – with the purpose of making a top – or rather bottom – five list of Slovene alcohol.

Intrigued by the challenge he set out for the bar and returned time and time again with one drink fouler and more evil smelling than the previous one. Just as we thought it couldn’t get any worse he brought Brinjevec.

There is no means to describe the taste, smell and characteristics of Brinjevec merely by using an ordinary vocabulary consisting of words. The closest one might get in a regular human life would be terpentine. The mere shock of still being able to see after gulping down the first little sip of the drink was almost too much for me.

It was then that it dawned on us that we had a winner. Brinjevec. For the interested a bottle of the said substance can be procured at a cost of about 5000 Slovene Tollars – to be converted to Euros by 1st of January 2007. It is allegedly based on juniper berries and ethanol but I would believe anyone who said it was made from a random mix of terpentine and methanol.

Other than that – go to Slovenia immediately. Go to Trebnik Castle in Slovenska Konjice and buy all their cool stuff – don’t miss the love potion which – if nothing else – is a sturdy herb liqueur.

5 Comments

  1. Alexander

    Brinjevec is ment for “folk” medicinal use, not for regular drinking, but some bars and inns sell it for drinking. Also brinjevec in most bars is cheap variant of traditional karst region Brinjevec, becouse only purpuse of Brinjevec sold in bars is to get drunk faster.

  2. Matjaz

    Brinjevec is used as a traditional medicine mostly for cold and stomach problems (helped me many times) but also to quickly warm a body up in winters 🙂 … And in Carst and Brkini region it is also used as an appetizer. Italians around Trieste are buying it from locals for this reason (and Italians are known for enjoying good beverages and food).

    You should visit some locals who are brewing it for their own consumption next time. It is very good once you get used to it :). But most of the Brinjevec sold is just plum brandy or even brandy made of grapes (after grapes are used for wine making) with juniper flower. The taste is milder and it has no medical effects. And most of the Brinjevec brandy sold in bars and stores tastes awful to me as well. Beware that real Brinjevec is made by fermenting only juniper berries and nothing else and fermentation differs from that of Gin, Klokovača (Serbian juniper brandy), Borovička (Slovak juniper brandy) …!

    It is like with whiskey or cigars. They taste awful when you try them for the first time. But with time you appreciate the taste and it becomes a pleasure! And only with the millage you can feel the difference between mass production and the top quality brands.

    It is interesting that a side product of brewing Brinjevec you get juniper (ethereal) oil which locals sell to pharmacies in Trieste (Italy)! And it is very expensive. It is also used to add flavors to most Gins.

    As for the price. 100kg of juniper for few liters of brandy. And go pick junipers if you don’t mind scratched hands :). In reality different techniques are used to speed up the process but nonetheless it is PITA to pick them up. I tried it once and we spent several hours for around 20 kilos.

    So your description of a brandy is not making it any good. It is not made to get drunk and it is hard to make a good Brinjevec.

    lp mkljun

  3. Matjaz

    Btw … just asked and 1 liter of oil costs 160 Euros. One liter of real Brinjevec (no plums, potatoes, spirit, grapes) costs 30 Euros sold by local farmers. But if it is cheaper (from 15 to 20 Euros) it is probably just some other brandy with juniper taste.

    It is also used for intestines problems and pain caused by PMS.

    lp mkljun

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