AskDefine | Define slivovitz

Dictionary Definition

slivovitz n : Hungarian plum brandy

User Contributed Dictionary



From šljivovica / шљивовица < šljiva / шљива ‘plum’.


  1. A type of rakija made of distilled, fermented plum juice. It is sometimes referred to as plum brandy.


rakija made of distilled, fermented plum juice

Extensive Definition

Slivovitz (Germanization from the Slavic word for plum, sliva) is a strong alcoholic beverage primarily made of distilled fermented plum juice though, similar to Irish poteen, it is often home-distilled out of a variety of source materials, up to and including grass and other organic material. It is similar to brandy and sometimes called plum brandy in English and is part of the category of drinks called rakia. The alcohol content can vary from 25–70% by volume, but most store-bought varieties are 40–45%.
It is the national drink of Serbia and most of the Slavic Balkan states, where about 70% of plum production (average 424,300 tonnes per year (FAO 1991–2001) goes into slivovitz. Export producers in Serbia such as Imperia, STEFAN NEMANJA Flores and Stara Sokolova generally age their sljivovica between 5–12 years in oak barrels. In the Falcon Region of Serbia, the tradition of growing and processing plums always had the highest priority. Plums are eaten fresh, dried for the winter and used for making jam but 80% of the plum crops are used for producing sljivovica. Today, the drink is viewed with great pride by the household producer whereas in the past it was also the basis of economic wealth. At a time when money was not reliable and banks were either in trouble or non existent, sljivovica was a means for a people to save for the future. A well aged sljivovica would increase in quality and value.
Some producers have obtained a Hechsher for their slivovitz.
Rakia is supposed to be drunk from special small glasses (0.3 to 0.5 dl). It is often drunk warm, sometimes even heated (sugar is caramelized in a pan before the rakia is added) for better effect.

Distilling process

In the manufacturing process, the plums and a liberal proportion of the ground kernels are first crushed and pressed, then starch and sugar are added to the juice and the mixture is allowed to ferment. Distillation gives the crude product, and clarifying processes complete the liqueur, but aging is required to develop its finer qualities. Its pleasing flavor is due largely to the plum kernels, which contain a considerable percentage of amygdalin, the characteristic component of bitter almonds.
Slivovitz, like some of the other rakias, is kept in wooden barrels (oak or mulberry) for an extra aroma and the colour (golden brownish). Commercial distillers may use oak chips, toasted oak chips, or mulberry chips when aging slivovitz in glass or stainless steel tanks for flavor or coloring.
There are three major classes of slivovitz: aged in wood, aged in glass, and sweet. Sweet slivovitz is the result of maceration of fruit in the slivovitz after distillation. Plum Brandy is a variant of slivovitz produced by removing the plum pits prior to fermentation. This results in a loss of the characteristic 'pit bite' – the astringency contributed by the kernels – and a relatively blander product.
Imitation Slivovitz is made by flavoring spirits with prune juice and artificial oil of bitter almonds. Thus, "Serbian Slivovitz" (Srpska šljivovica) will become Serbia's first certified national brand.

In Pop Culture

In the 1990 film Avalon it is mentioned as the only thing that the patriarch of the family would drink after he emigrated to America.
Slivovitz is the preferred drink of Yvone in Amy and David Sedaris's The Book of Liz (2001).
The group Andra Generationen participated in the swedish music contest Melodifestivalen 2008 with a song called Kebabpizza Slivovitza.


See also

slivovitz in Bavarian: Zwetschgenwossa
slivovitz in Bosnian: Šljivovica
slivovitz in Czech: Slivovice
slivovitz in German: Sliwowitz
slivovitz in Spanish: Slivovitz
slivovitz in Italian: Slivovitz
slivovitz in Hebrew: סליבוביץ'
slivovitz in Lithuanian: Slivovica
slivovitz in Dutch: Slivovic
slivovitz in Polish: Śliwowica
slivovitz in Russian: Сливовица
slivovitz in Slovak: Slivovica
slivovitz in Serbian: Шљивовица (пиће)
slivovitz in Finnish: Slivovits
slivovitz in Swedish: Slivovits
slivovitz in Ukrainian: Сливовиця
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