Arnold Backer schnapps and spirits
If you’re in Carinthia, Austria’s southernmost province, may I suggest a visit to the award-winning Bacher schnapps distillery?

I’m instantly charmed by Melitta and Arnold Bacher, the husband-and-wife team running the operation.

Melitta and Arnold Backer, schnapps-makers extraordinaires

Arnold takes us around his little garden. The apples, pears, cherries, grapes, johannisbeer (currants), they all provide raw materials for the schnapps production. This is a very local and extremely short travelled product.

In essence, this is what you need to produce schnapps:

Schnapps ingredients DSC_0643

I’m not much of a schnapps drinker, or any kind of drinker at all, actually, beyond wine. But can’t be a wimp now, can I? So I brave the liquids and sample a Holunder Brand, brewed on elderberries. It has an interesting flavour. Though 41% alcohol is a bit strong for my taste.

At a mere 18%, however, the Johannisbeerlikör, brewed on currants, goes down a treat. I try the Zirbenlikör as well, made on a cone or nut, reminiscent of pine cones, only smaller. It’s unusually flavourful, a nice, lingering taste.

Arnold Backer schnapps and spirits

Melitta cleverly realises a bunch of travel writers, slightly weary from jam-packed days playing in the mountains, need a bit of sustenance to go with the alcohol, and serves up delicate and delicious sandwiches.

... to go with schnapps

The Bachers have been in business since 1975. There are no industrial products here, everything is authentic, all-natural, hand-made with love – in short, this is the good stuff. And if one should need further proof these are high-quality products, medals and awards abound. After all…

…life’s too short to drink bad schnapps

Life's too short to drink bad schnapps

Want to sample the schnapps?

The Backers have no gift shop, no website, no glossy brochures. That’s as it should be. This is a quiet, unassuming family business, a local secret. However, if you’re keen to visit, your hotel or pension in the Bad Bleiberg area can arrange it. The Falkensteiner Hotel Bleibergerhof organised our visit.

Disclosure: In Carinthia, I was a guest of Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences.