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Let’s Get Drunk on Barack!



This, it turns out, is a proposal convivial conservatives should be able to agree to, not a bit less than our festive liberal counterparts, who are basking in the inebriating glow of this week’s ultra-progressive inaugural address. I was reading The England Commune, a 1975 novel by our friend David Pryce-Jones, and came across the following:

‘I should have liked to bring you something suitable but there was nothing.’ Uncle Zsigi was holding on to Adam’s arm. ‘Please accept this bottle of barack, it isn’t Lord Carthew’s whisky, but all the same a speciality. Our apricot brandy.’

Yes, indeed, barack in Hungarian is a collective word covering both peaches and apricots, and the pálinka (etymologically, “little burning one”; and thus akin to our “firewater”) made from the latter. My delight in discovering this from David P.-J.’s book was not in the least diminished by the fact that the Hungarian barack is pronounced “baraTSk”; it still points out a worthwhile program for the future.

PS. Fruit-based brandies are much more popular in Eastern Europe than they are here; that, at least, is the impression I got from the émigré get-togethers hosted by my sainted Slovak grandmother, and from a Slovak priest who treated me in his Vatican office years ago to an 11 a.m. shooter of one of them. (Hey, it’s a global church, so it’s gotta be 5 p.m. somewhere, am I right?) Of all the Slovak iTSas — the words for these brandies all end in -ica — the only one I’ve ever heard Westerners mention is slivovica, made from slivky, plums. 


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