Everything about plum brandy in one place!
The Slivovitz Festival was created by the Brothers Radosevich in northern Minnesota in 2004. The festival has grown with the assistance of fellow slivophiles into the premier Slivovitz Tasting event in the world. Additionally, satellite festivals are also hosted annually by devotees on the east and west coast. The annual festival and the satellite festivals are held in September each year.
We are all about Slivovitz. Slivovitz is brandy made from plums: purple plums, red plums, yellow plums, dried plums...any plums. Slivovitz is fermented on the stone (with the pit) or without the pit and some slivovitzs are fermented with the plum skin still on, others not. Other variables include how long it is aged and which type of container the plum brandy is aged in: oak, mullberry, maple barrels or glass or stainless steel containers.
Slivovitz is famous for having a strong alcohol kick, and with a standard 100-140 proof (50% to 70% alcohol content), Slivovitz has earned its reputation. This kick, combined with the tradition of drinking Slivovitz in shots, occasionally throws drinkers new to Slivovitz (Slivovirgins) for quite a loop. People drink Slivovitz all over the world, but especially along the backbone of Europe. It's the national drink of Serbia, a medium of exchange in Albania, and the penance for sins in Poland. There are more than 3,000 distilleries that make Slivovitz, but only about two hundred that offer it commercially or make it available more than a dozen miles away from the source. Here are ISTA, we are always looking for new Slivovitz, and we consider it our mission to continually seek and judge as many varieties as possible and share our recommendations with our ISTA members and the rest of the world.
Some of us grew up drinking Slivovitz, and consider it part of our heritage; others have no such excuse, you just like it and we welcome you to the "family". Whether it's called plum brandy, Slivovitz, mirabelle, or quetsch, for generations Slivovitz has toasted births, weddings, successes and failures. It's how families greet returning family members, celebrate victories, mourn defeat, and honor memories of lost ones. It's a part of eastern European heritage and for many of us, it's part of our bloodline, part of who we are, and a reminder of where we come from.
Sipped, slammed, savored, or shot - Slivovitz will change your outlook on life just as it has for millions of fans for hundreds of years.
Slivovitz plum harvest
Plum harvest at the Zufanek Distillery, Czech Republic
Video produced by Martin Zufanek at Zufanek Distillery, and share permission granted. Thanks, Martin!
Each year, ISTA collects samples of Slivovitz from distillers large and small all over the world, and each year a panel of experienced tasters begins opening bottles, comparing color, aroma, taste, mouthfeel, follow, and other factors to discover the best Slivovitz produced in the world that year. In 2012, the official judging happened in September and October in Minnesota with popular judging results added in from the September 2012 Satellite Slivovitz Festivals in New York and Washington D.C. See Complete 2012 Results
2012 JUDGING RESULTS GOLD MEDALS
BEST IN SHOWS - Badel 1862 Distillery, Croatia, - Badel Sljivovica
AGED IN WOOD - R. Jelinek Distillery, Czech Republic, - Slivovitz 10 year aged
AGED IN GLASS - Clear Creek Distillery, USA, - Blue Plum Brandy
SWEET SLIVOVITZ - Castle Spirits, USA, - Spirit of Solomon Slivovitz
TRADITIONAL STYLE - Maraska, Croatia, - Slivovica Old Plum Brandy
QUEEN'S CHOICE - Distillerie Meyer, France, - F. Meyer Mirabelle
NOTABLY ABSENT - Zufanek Distillery, Czech Republic, - Slivovica Zufanek
We pledge to enjoy the pleasant futility of collecting, tasting, evaluating, and reporting on every single style of Slivovitz from every single distiller in the world every single year.
For many years Slivovitz lovers have depended on ISTA, the International Slivovitz Tasters Association, to train and certify Slivovitz Judges, host the annual Slivovitz Competition, provide Slivovitz rankings, and sanction Slivovitz Tasting events. The panel of experienced judges (and Journeyjudges - it's quite a hierarchy) gather several times in the fall to judge the year's entries. Unlike many tasting panels, the Slivovitz Festival does not charge a bottle entry fee and the judges are volunteers. Our ISTA Judges donate their taste buds, time, and experience to help our members and festival visitors find the Slivovitz that suits their palates.
Slivovitz comes. Slivovitz goes. Distillers quit distilling. Importers stop importing. Distributors don't distribute. Sometimes the Feds embargo the entire shipment for obscure reasons. We have made it our mission to assemble the world's most complete collection of Slivovitz at ISTA headquarters and we maintain an extensive library of every Slivovitz we discover.
Throughout the year, prior to the fall festivals, special tastings, judge trainings, other ISTA member events, and Slivovitz-related events are posted here at the website.
Questions or comments? Contact PlumGirlFriday at Slivovitz dot US