Tipple of the week: Fröccs

Two glasses of wine and a soda fountain
Akkor jó a kisfröccs ha nagy—image from kocsma.blog.hu

To celebrate the summer’s arrival, this week we’re doing a piece honouring the Hungarian classic: the fröccs. In its many varieties, fröccs isn’t really a single drink, but a class of drinks. Essentially spritzers, they’re typical outdoor summer drinks for young and old alike.

That said, it’s very much an insider’s game, the Hungarian Wikipedia page lists 20 different types of fröccs, and it’s all to do with proportions.

In practice, five different types should have you covered:

  • Kis fröccs—”Little Fröccs”, probably the most basic type of fröccs: 100ml of wine and 100ml of soda water
  • Nagy fröccs—”Big Fröccs”, another very common type. This one is a bit more alcohol: 200ml of wine to 100ml of soda water
  • Hosszúlépés“Long Stride”, the name implies you can just keep going with this one: it’s 100ml of wine to 200ml of soda water

After this, things get a bit bigger, starting with the half-litre fröccses:

  • Házmester—”The Custodian”, a little more wine than water: 300ml wine, 200ml water.
  • Viceházmester—”The Vice Custodian”, the reverse of the házmester, 200ml wine and 300ml water.

It gets a bit crazy after this, including the Krúdy fröccs (which at 900ml of wine to 100ml of water is generally only joked about, rather than actually made), and the Lámpás, a monstrous two litre affair made of three parts wine to one part soda water.

Although all types of wine are considered possible bases for fröccs, the most widespread ‘base’ is a cheap house rosé.

On a summer’s day in the park, it’s not really the time to get snobbish about it—fröccs can keep you going all day without feeling the worse for wear, whatever the quality of the wine.

True fröccs is made with fresh soda water, but carbonated mineral water ticks more or less the same boxes, so next Hungarian barbecue you go to, think about bringing a bottle of rosé and a sparkling water.