The Ultimate Guide to Fröccs!
As the weather heats up and the bars reopen, the first question is surely – what to drink? While a white wine spritzer (fröccs) may simultaneously offend hardened beer drinkers and wine aficionados, it is actually a perfect, easy summer drink. Legend has it that combining wine and water was invented in Hungary shortly after Ányos Jedlik developed a method of mass-producing soda water.
The huge popularity has resulted in a bewildering array of mixes, with a variety of names ranging from descriptive to downright obscure. This can make it a little confusing to order what you want, but don’t worry! I’ve done the research and compiled this ultimate guide to fröccs for confused tourists and expats!
Where should I go?
Pretty much anywhere that serves wine will serve fröccs, and there are a lot of places that serve wine! If you want to be basic and stay in the city centre, go to the appropriately-named Fröccsterasz at Erzsébet tér. From there you can pretty much head in any direction to any style of bar, depending on your mood. If you have some time on your hands (and a designated driver) head to the cellars of Etyek, half an hour from Budapest.
How do I order?
There are basically two steps. Choose the wine you want, and decide the ratio of wine and soda water you prefer.
Don’t worry if you’re not a wine expert, the house wine (házbor) will most likely keep you happy. Compared to what I’m used to in the UK, wine in Hungary is very good and very reasonably priced. The local varieties are great and I’ve noticed that Hungarians really enjoy it when you say good things about their wine.
If you want to be a little more precise, you can specify dry (száraz), sweet (édes), semi-dry (félszáraz) or semi-sweet (félédes). Alternatively just choose a bottle.
For the second step, refer to the guide below. The most common choices are the Kisfröccs (half/half), Nagyfröccs (2/3 wine) and the Hosszúlépés (1/3 wine). If it’s been a very tough day try a Házmester (3/5 wine) or, if you’re on a health kick, go for a Sport fröccs (1/5 wine).
What else should I know?
The guide below is essentially too much information, but I tend to get quite absorbed in my research once I get started on a topic! The ones with a green tick are fairly well understood. Those with a question mark might be a little obscure and unheard of, and a few are pretty much not a real drink and just exist as a joke.
- Sóherfröccs – Cheapskate: It should be fairly self-explanatory given that it’s one part wine to 9 parts water. Nobody is going to be very impressed if you order this.
- Puskás fröccs: Named after legendary Hungarian footballer, Ferenc Puskás, this mix gets its name from the “Match of the Century” when Hungary’s Golden Team beat England 6-3 at Wembley.
- Színész fröccs – Actor: This non-alcoholic spritzer pokes fun at struggling, underpaid actors. As well as no alcohol, the soda water is not even refrigerated.
- TBC fröccs: This one is specifically made from tablet wine. I hadn’t previously heard of such a thing and apparently that’s good news. I don’t think any grapes are involved and, whatever it is, you probably shouldn’t drink it.
- Bakteranyós: Supposedly this translates to “mother-in-law of the railway trackman”, and there’s a story involved. At this point I have no idea, so check back to this article later to see if I’ve discovered what it means!
OK, let’s have it!