Saturday, October 16, 2004


Smacked by the Zwack or Jaegermeister on Steroids

Over at the Choobies, there seems to be a general consensus among both residents and visitors that one of the national drinks of Hungary is fit only as an application for the unblocking of sinks and drains, and that should one wish to remove the enamel from one's teeth, battery acid may prove to be a slightly more palatable alternative.

Given the almost filial relationship I appear to have with this country, in which I feel at total liberty to criticise it but leap readily to its defence whenever the attacks come from other directions, it would seem to be incumbent upon me to make a few points in its favour.

1. Should you ever find yourself in a position where two or more people are desirous of precisely ascertaining their position on any perceived scale of 'machismo', lining up several shots of Unicum might well prove considerably less of a physical endeavour than arm wrestling, distance spitting or projectile vomiting. Mind you, the latter could just turn out to be an inevitable consequence anyway.

2. When listening to tales of drunken excess and hangovers from hell, those 'in the know' can allow themselves a delicious feeling of smugness secure in the knowledge that nobody but nobody can ever claim to have been truly hammered or even remotely hungover if neither can be attributed to the Zwack smack.

3. If ever you should find yourself barefoot and bladdered in a Hungarian family vineyard and inadvertently step on the sharp edge of a metal boot scraper, thereby opening up a rather nasty gash on the underside of your foot, you will be grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate the full range of your grasp of profanity when the black stuff is applied in lieu of a more conventional antiseptic.

4. It is probably the only drink known to man that cannot reasonably be incorporated into any kind of cocktail whatsoever and therefore will never be succeptible to decoration with sparklers, umbrellas or other assorted frippery. This can only be a Good Thing.

5. My 'mother-in-law' swears by it and, as long as I have a bottle or two handy whenever she comes to visit, this will extend the life of my stocks of malt. This is also a Good Thing.

6. On the occasion of any male acquaintance's nameday, birthday or any other such celebration, Unicum rather usefully provides a gift of last resort for those of us unfortunate enough to be seriously challenged regarding the ability to select appropriate presents.

7. If you should ever wish to attend a fancy dress gala or some such dressed as an archetypical cartoon anarchist, simply remove the label from the bottle, stencil 'bomb' on it in large white letters, stick a length of string in the top and that's your props problem sorted.

8.'s about it. Quite pathetic, really.

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