Welcome to our latest video series, Rerouted: The Balkans, which sees social media influencer and YouTuber Eva zu Beck discover the cultures, customs and traditions of Eastern Europe. Eva takes us off-the-beaten-track on a road trip through Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Albania. We meet the wonderful Balkan people bringing a modern twist to ancient traditions and travel through pristine, untouched landscapes. You might not have planned to visit these countries before but one thing’s for sure - they’re about to become top of your travel bucket list.
This week, Eva moves on to the next country on her road trip, Romania. A country full of rugged landscapes, warm-hearted people and, as she finds out in this episode, an intriguing drink that sometimes serves as currency.
We join Eva in Breb, a beautiful village in the Transylvanian countryside in northern Romania.
On misty winter days, Gheorghe and his son Petru distil apples to make horinca, a liquor invented in the Middle Ages.
The English love a nice cup of tea. In Mexico you never say no to a tequila. In Romania they drink horinca. A lot of horinca.
Some Romanians have a shot before work, others prefer a tipple at lunch, a fair few knock them back at dinner. Anything goes.
“In the morning, coffee comes first, then horinca, says Gheorghe. "It chases the sleep away and keeps me going.”
There are commercial brands, but most people prefer to follow closely-guarded family recipes to make their own moonshine. These are passed down through the generations from father to son, like Gheorghe to Petru.
As every family has its own formula, no two horincas are the same. They range from uber sweet to skin-crawlingly sour.
Watch the video above to see Eva develop her horinca palate under the expert guidance of this traditional family.
Previous episodes of Rerouted: The Balkans