Unicum is one of the
most famous Hungarian trademarks, denoting Zwack’s traditional stomach bitter
The Hungarian Club which includes Zwack Unicum Nyrt. recognizes Unicum as a Hungaricum.
Unicum is a strongly bitter dry-type liqueur, mainly consumed as an aperitif due to its appetizing effect. Its recipe is a big secret and secretly
deposited in the Archives of the Primate and the Chapter of Esztergom. It is made from a mixture of over forty herbs and spices. According to the legend of the manufacturer, the drink was created in 1970 by II Joseph’s court doctor, one of the ancestors of the Zwack family. As a story says dr Zwack, the emperor’s court doctor, offered his ruler a special herbal liqueur, II. Joseph, who could not praise enough the magical drink and constantly said ”Das ist ein Unicum!” (Which means: It is
Unicum was registered (trademarked) in 1883 and began to be manufactured, with the well-known round glass and a red cross on a white background. By the end of the 1890s, the factory had outgrown itself, so Zwack moved for the outer Ferencváros the side of the Danube. They have installed their company on Soroksári Road, which is still there.
The company in its glory days produced more than two hundred different drinks and was one of Central Europe’s most important distilleries became the official supplier of the imperial court. Under the leadership of József Zwack, Unicum was packed in a flat glass specifically for soldiers around World War I.
The Unicum design has now become inseparable from spherical Unicum glass and
the cross. Many people would not know that the Unicum glass, has become spherical because, according to platonic Philosophers, the sphere is the most perfect shape and also symbolizes the soul. The golden cross of St. Stephen on the trademark symbolizes the four landscapes, but at the same time, it shows the beneficial effects of the four ancestors on the human body.
The years of the 1940s hit Zwack seriously. In 1944, three bombs hit the factory, which suffered serious damage, and what remained of the building was set on fire by the Germans. The factory was completely restored but nationalized in the fall of 1948. However, the Zwack family gave the state a false recipe. The family was forced to live the country so they moved to Italy and began producing the Unicum there. Since then, there have been two types of Unicum:
a state-owned domestic and an Italian-made origin that was marketed abroad.