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A Guide to Fröccs – The Hungarian Spritzer

Fröccs (Spritzer) is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in Hungary. It is actually wine (mostly white wine) mixed with soda water, – most importantly, not with mineral water as is often the case nowadays and elsewhere in Europe, but with good old-fashioned soda water.

The story of the birth of the spritzer: the most important people met in András Fáy’s wine-press house on the 5 of October in 1842 in Fót, Hungary. The crowd also included Mihály Vörösmarty, famous poet and dramatist, Gergely Czuczor, linguist, and Ányos Jedlik, the inventor of the pendulum and the dynamo. Jedlik brought his invention, the soda bottle, and if he was there, he introduced his friends how he diluted his wine with soda because of his stomach issues. He sipped soda with fine white wine. Spritzer!. It is too German, we should rather call it „fröccs”, said Vörösmarty.

The fröccs was recorded in the Hungarian Repository (a record of Hungarian contributions to history) in 2013. There are different types of “fröccs”/ Spritzer, based on the volume of wine and soda water. Hungarians do not make “fröccs” from red wine, only if there is no other wine available. Today, Hungarians use white and more recently rosé wine and soda water.

Commonly used measures:

Small spritzer (kisfröccs): 1 dl wine – 1 dl soda water
Big spritzer (nagyfröccs): 2 dl wine – 1 dl soda water
Long step (Hosszúlépés):1 dl wine – 2 dl soda water
Housekeeper (Házmester):3 dl wine- 2 dl soda water
Vice-Housekeeper (Viceházmester):  2 dl wine – 3 dl soda water
Landlord (Háziúr):                               4 dl wine – 1 dl soda water
Tenant (Albérlő):                                   1 dl wine- 4 dl soda water
Hungary-English (Magyar-Angol):     6 dl wine – 3 dl soda water
Long jump (Távolugrás):                      1 dl wine – 9 dl soda water
Mayor (Polgármester):                        6 dl wine – 4 dl soda water      
Krúdy-fröccs:                                       9 dl wine – 1 dl soda water

Every host had to know these units in the 1900s. Since then, many kinds of mixed drinks are named as Spritzer (fröccs) that has nothing to do with the classic version of wine and soda. Some of those are:

Pure spritzer:                           1 dl red wine + 1 dl champagne          
Bear spritzer (Macifröccs):                 1 dl wine + 2 dl soda raspberry syrup
New house spritzer (Újházi fröccs):    1 dl wine + 2 dl cucumber juice
Small hunter (Kisvadász):                      1 dl wine + 1 dl cola
Big hunter (Nagyvadász):                      2 dl wine + 1 dl cola         
Lucky bastard (Szerencsés flótás):     1 dl wine + 1 dl soda, plus a little rum
Bear (Medve):                                        3 dl red wine + 1 dl cola + 1 dl rum  
KVBK:                                                       2 dl wine + 2 dl cola + 1 dl rum   
Fisherman (Horgász):                           2 dl white wine + 2 dl Sprite  

Spritzer (fröccs) has several benefits over just wine, firstly it is not such a burden for the stomach, because it is diluted it has a significantly milder effect than drinking pure wine.  Secondly, due to its sour taste and low alcohol content, it is an ideal refreshing drink in summer.  Another benefit is that we are less likely to have a hangover the next day if we choose to drink fröccs over wine alone.

You can get spritzer (fröccs) in every bar and restaurant in Debrecen, but the best way to have it is definitely on the terrace of a downtown bar.