Hungary’s revered grappa, pálinka, has a special place in the nation’s gastronomy and culture. But few Hungarians understand its special qualities and particular values. The founders of the newly opened Pálinka Museum Shop Bar in Budapest’s party quarter are aiming to change people’s perceptions and allow tourists to experience the nation’s elixir in select surroundings. Visitors may also buy a bottle to take home.

Nowadays, we are living in a new golden age of pálinka. Thanks to the latest technology, ever finer and more improved drinks are being produced. Therefore it is quite surprising that for all the specialist wine bars and craft-beer pubs in town, Budapest has lacked a place dedicated to pálinka. Until now. The Pálinka Museum Shop Bar, opposite party hub, the Gozsdu Udvar, fills the gap but, as its name indicates, there’s more to the PMSB than meets the eye.

Walking up Király utca from the city centre, you will soon see the shop which, from very first glance, makes it clear that the founders have really gone to town to present the full gamut of Magyar grappa. The 13 brands, including 1 Csepp Pálinka, Gyulai Pálinka and Agárdi, are distilled from more than 30 kinds of fruit. With nearly 100 varieties on offer, everyone should find something to their taste.

Alongside are other special Hungarian products, grey beef and mangalica pork. With contemporary designer souvenirs and branded garments, the offer is complete.

You can then pop into the museum, which focuses mainly on the development of distillation and history of Hungarian pálinka. You can also find out where the word ‘alcohol’ comes from and what kind of booze the earliest civilisations first brewed, as well as discover the legal definition of pálinka and its protection of origin under the EU.

Though the exhibition is limited to one room, there are plenty of interactive features: visitors can harvest fruit from the tree, or match the region to its products. Those who guess right collect points, and then use them for a store discount.

Museum admission of 3,000 forints includes a sampling while the bar is free to enter. The people behind the operation stress that this is a place to appreciate and compare your pálinkas rather than neck them.

The space can also accommodate larger groups and soon the range of foodstuffs will also include goose liver and other specialities. Gift vouchers are being introduced for the Christmas holidays.

Pálinka Museum Shop Bar District VI. Király utca 20

Open: Daily 10am-10pm