03 July 2024 / Geri Ádám/ Photos: Lang Nándor Copy actual URL Facebook share Twitter share

Famous people’s spritzers

The names of many famous Hungarians appear in the pages of Hungarian spritzer history. There are also some interesting stories connected to them.

The spritzer, or fröccs, is an indelible part of Hungarian culture, and it is no coincidence that it is one of the three Hungarikums associated with wine. It is also a Hungarikum in that there are so many different versions – in the rest of the world, there are usually only one or two different versions, if any. With summer in mind, winesofhungary.hu has already listed the mainstream versions of fröccs in an earlier article, but the Hungarian fröccs universe is almost infinite (and constantly expanding). So it’s worth learning about the more unusual names and combinations, if only because there’s an interesting story behind most of them.

Krúdy fröccs

Our famous writer, Gyula Krúdy (1878–1933) is considered a real gourmet. He really loved to eat, but perhaps to drink even more so. Several legendary stories are linked to the latter ability. Although it is obviously poetic licence, Ilona Harmos Kosztolányiné says that Krüdy drank 100 small spritzers in a single day, while Sándor Márai says that Krúdy mocked him for drinking medicinal water, i.e. he considered the hosszúlépés version with one part wine to two parts water too dilute. Bearing all this in mind, it’s no wonder that the Krúdy fröccs requires 100 ml soda water to 900 ml of wine. Following Krúdy’s admonition, it is just to “make the wine laugh”. Although this is probably also only a legend, and Krúdy did not invent this ratio, but posterity has named it after him, as a tribute to the great writer’s great capacity.



Újházi fröccs

Without doubt one of the strangest fröccs recipes: 100 ml leavened cucumber juice instead of soda water is added to 200 ml of white wine. Another oddity is that this recipe bears no resemblance to the original Újházi fröccs recipe. This version, based on an error, only became widespread at the end of the 20th century. The eponym Ede Újházi, an actor and gourmet who lived at the end of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, liked his fröccs made from red wine, Kadarka to be more precise. Originally, this combination was named after him during his lifetime at his regular haunt, Wampetics, which later became the Gundel restaurant. The Wampetics is also the birthplace of the other great favourite of the famous guest, the Újházi chicken soup.



Puskás fröccs

If you mention the date 25 November 1953, the hearts of all Hungarian football fans will surely beat at the same time. On this day, the England-Hungary friendly football match took place in London, in which the Golden Team defeated their hosts, unbeaten at home against continental European teams for 90 years. The final score was 6-3, so it’s not hard to guess that this is the ratio of wine to soda water in this fröccs. Its eponym is of course the number one start of the national team, the greatest Hungarian footballer ever, Öcsi Puskás, who scored twice against the English in this “match of the century”.

In recent years, it has become fashionable to name a fröccs after a memorable match result. The Brazilian fröccs refers to the semi-final of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where the South Americans were shockingly beaten 7-1 by eventual world champions Germany. Hence the wine to soda water ratio of 7:1. The Barcelona fröccs commemorates the 2020 Champions League quarter-final where Lionel Messi’s Spanish star side were beaten 8-2 by German Bayern Munich.



Kass fröccs

A fröccs straight from Szeged. In 1898, János Kass opened the Kass Coffeehouse, also known as Kass Vigadó. It was actually a true complex, housing a coffeehouse, snack bar, restaurant, games room, concert hall and later a hotel (upstairs). Anyone who mattered in Szeged at the time frequented it. Among other things, Kass treated them to a fröccs of his own invention made with a 1:1 ratio of Champagne and red wine. According to newspapers of the time, the sparkling wine was Champagne until 1914, but was replaced by Hungarian sparkling wine during the hard years of the First World War. Anyway, it was a success and also made its appearance in other Hungarian cities. The writer Józsi Jenő Tersánszky (the creator of Misi Mókus and Marci Kakuk among others) mentions in his book Nagy árnyakról bizalmasan (Confidentally about the Great Shadows) that he and the poet Árpád Tóth also drank it in Debrecen.



Kagál fröccs

Oddly enough, this is also linked to the city on the banks of the Tisza. Mrs János Báló, born Julianna Gajdacsi, who created the Kagál fröccs came to Budapest from Szeged. She ran her restaurant at 57 Ráday Street in the capital for almost ten years, until 1921. Mrs Báló’s excellent food (especially her catfish cabbage) was legendary, her wines less so, which is why the members of the editorial staff at the Borsszem Jankó newspaper, who were regulars there, always asked for a spoonful of raspberry cordial in any kind of fröccs. This table of regulars called itself the Kagál (khagal is Hebrew for a congregation of scribes), hence the name of the fröccs.


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