Wonderful people, the Hungarians. Some of them just ooze culture. Music, especially. Two delightful young men of my acquaintance are the grandsons of the renowned composer Gyorgy Ranki, whose centenary was celebrated a couple of years ago at the Budapest Opera. The Hungarian national drink is palinka (emphasis on the first vowel), a spirit-based eyebrow lifter made with fruit. The one I like best – I haven't tried them all, admittedly – is the palinka vilmos, a pear-tinged elixir, named for the William pear. The Hungarians, given their often cruel history – and, indeed, the present political situation there isn't wonderful – occasionally indulge in getting a bit Brahms and Liszt, only the latter being a Hungarian, of course. In their honour – and to suck up to my friends – I thought I might invent a cocktail that would befit their status.
For the time being I'll call it Just William. Here's what you do...
3 fl oz Vilmos Palinka
1 fl oz vodka
1 fl oz Grand Marnier
4 very ripe pears
2 fl oz pear nectar or good pear jiuce
Juice of 1 lime
Peel and core pears and place in blender
Add pear nectar then liquidise
Sieve into large jug
Add the other ingredients
Pour as much as will allow into cocktail shaker containing 4 lumps of ice
Shake well & serve in glasses with a slice of lime on the rim.
Keep the remainder in the fridge for a top-up.
Should serve six.
Another Hungarian musical genius was Georges (formerly Gyorgy) Cziffra. He had a hard life but what a piano player! Here he is interpreting one of old Ferenc's most famous pieces...