Summer finally seems to have come, if today is any indication at all. So, unless you are a hardened wine snob, it is time to move onto the more refreshing ‘fröccs’ while you are soaking up the sun on the terrace or in the ‘romkocsma’.
Fröccs (pronounced frerch, to rhyme with perch) is the Hungarian for wine spritzer. Most languages generally have one word to describe this drink, e.g. in German ‘Weinschorle’, in English ‘wine spritzer’, and more or less one way of making it. Hungarian, however, being the complicated language of a complex people, has a myriad of terms to describe the full range of fröccs available.
Let’s start with the easiest ones, that is the most commonly drunk ones. So, you can have either a ‘kis fröccs’ or a ‘nagy fröccs’, that is a small or a big one. What does that actually mean? Well the kis fröccs is 1dl (that’s 100ml to you and me) wine to 1dl soda water. The nagy fröccs is 2dl wine to 1dl soda. All well and good, now comes the ‘hosszúlépés’, good if you’re a bit more thirsty or it’s too early in the day for any serious drinking. This is 1dl wine to 2dl soda.
If your friends are drinking pints of beer and you don’t want to be waiting around with an empty glass until they finish up, then your tipple of choice has to be the ‘viceházmester’, which weighs in at 2dl wine to 3dl soda. Find that a bit watery, then try the slightly stronger ‘házmester’, just reverse the volumes.
Need to rehydrate after running to the bar? Well then, have a ‘sportfröccs’, 1dl wine and 4dl soda. Or needing to catch up after the others have had a headstart? You could knock back a quick ‘háziúr’ (4dl wine to 1dl soda).
Of course, some of these have several names, which I won’t bore you with. Unless you speak Hungarian, you’ll neither be able to say them or to understand what they mean anyway.
After this we move into the realms of the sublime and ridiculous. The volume is upped to a litre. So, actually probably quite good for the Sziget when you don’t want to keep having to stand in a queue to get a top up.
Magyar-angol (Hungarian – English) or puskás fröccs – 6dl wine to 3dl soda – you have to know something about football to understand this one. A Hungarian football fan will no doubt be very pleased to explain this one to you! An English fan probably won’t want to hear the explanation.
Távolugrás – 1dl wine to 9dl soda
Polgármester – 6dl wine to 4dl soda
Apolgármester – 4dl wine to 6dl soda
Avasi fröccs – 7dl wine to 3 dl soda
Krúdy fröccs – 9dl wine to 1 dl soda
Mafla – 5dl wine to 5dl soda
A few more variations of even larger volumes or different ’mixers’ exist, including, to my mind quite revoltingly, cola, but strangely, there does not seem to be a 2-8 or 8-2 variation. I wonder whether this is deliberate or simply an oversight.
The other consideration is, of course, what colour fröccs to have – fehér (white), rozé or vörös (red)
You could then also perk up your fröccs with a drop of elderflower (in white wine) or lavendar (in rose) cordial. Just a drop though, or you’ll end up with some sickly sweet concoction resembling a flavoured Babycham.
So time to get out to the bar and try out your newfound fröccs knowledge.
Of course, being a wine snob, I shouldn’t really be drinking watered down wine. Never mind. Make sure it’s the good stuff rather than the folyó bor (house wine).