About Schnapps – the natural way

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.



30 Responses to “About Schnapps – the natural way”

  1. ItalianNotes 16 July 2012 1145 #

    The combination of open sandwiches and schnapps sound familiar. But I think I’ll save it for Christmas.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 1441 #

      I thought that was familiar… Denmark at Christmas-time, of course! 🙂

  2. Laurel 16 July 2012 1803 #

    I loved this couple and their philosophy and the schnapps of course!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 1442 #

      A fun visit, wasn’t it… 🙂

  3. Natasha von Geldern 17 July 2012 0243 #

    I’m not a big spirit drinker either but I always appreciate this sort of chemical-free liquor, it makes such a difference to the taste. What a lovely experience with the Bachers 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 1442 #

      It does make a difference, knowing it’s not industrially made.

  4. Steve 17 July 2012 0454 #

    It looks like a great place to visit, but 41% alcohol? I’m amazed you were still standing when they brought the sandwiches out!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 1443 #

      I only tried a little bit, as I’m a bit of wimp where alcohol is concerned 🙂

  5. When in Rome. . . I love finding wonderful jewels of local crafts like this! I too would have enjoyed the scnhapps even though I don’t drink it either.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 1443 #

      I love discovering these little gems, too.

  6. Christy @ Technosyncratic 18 July 2012 2257 #

    I had no idea what went into schnapps – fascinating!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 1444 #

      So simple, really, when there’s no artificial substances added.

  7. Jarmo 19 July 2012 0226 #

    Good schnapps is actually really good, and it seems to be usually done on a really small scale. The best schnapps I ever tried was actually done in a shed by dad of one of my friends….

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 1446 #

      Yes, small scale production of schnapps (and so many other things) are often miles above the competition when it comes to quality.

  8. Andrea 21 July 2012 1614 #

    Mmmm – I actually quite like schnapps. My experiences with them have been mostly Scandinavian, however, with a Swedish friend of mine always bringing back some when she would visit. A Norwegian I was speaking to at a function here told me that they also make them in Norway? Mostly homemade as I understand…

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 1453 #

      In Norway schnapps mostly means Akevitt, made with caraway seeds. The most famous brand, Linje, is sent on a trip to Australia and back and so crosses the Equator (linje = line) twice. Something about the rolling motions of the ship and the changes in temperatures create a unique flavour. At least that’s what connoisseurs say. I’m sure you will be offered plenty around Christmas.

  9. I am not a big fan of Schnapps, but I did tour a place near Vienna. It was fun and certainly worth the experience. We did not get food like that though. Yum!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 1455 #

      Even though I didn’t drink a lot, I think I would have staggered about without the food 🙂

  10. Robert 23 July 2012 1633 #

    This is just the place for me. I’m very into organic, natural products and love schnaps!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 July 2012 1003 #

      Absolutely the place for you then 🙂

  11. robin 25 July 2012 1900 #

    We’re a big schnapps household with K being Bavarian. Pear is a favourite of mine, and the herby ones.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 July 2012 1004 #

      The Bachers had some lovely pear schnapps, including Williams Birne.

  12. Vera Marie Badertscher 26 July 2012 0129 #

    Schanapps is a liquer? Sounds like the fruit-flavored liquers of Switzerland. And those folks look like so much fun.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 July 2012 1005 #

      A nice and lively couple indeed 🙂

  13. Kim 26 July 2012 1703 #

    Nothing like a nice herbal schnapps when winter bites. I really enjoyed this post.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 17 August 2012 1438 #

      Thanks, Kim.

  14. Katie Martin 16 August 2012 1822 #

    That looks like a really interesting place to go and spend an afternoon, just learning about their brewing process and then testing the product. It reminds me of when I was in St. Croix and I went to the Cruxian rum factory. Even though they are part of a larger company and therefore have to make more product it was still really cool to see how the rum was actually made.
    Is it hard to get an appointment at the Bacher distillery? I was going to tell my friend who is in Austria right now to go and see it.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 17 August 2012 1440 #

      I shouldn’t think so. If your friend is in the Villach-area, her hotel or B&B could call and set up an appointment to visit.

  15. helga 6 February 2014 1759 #

    Die Bachers sind lange bekannt.
    Nicht nur der Schnaps, sondern Arno als Sportler vor vielen Jahren.
    Ich besuche die Familie in nächster Zeit.
    Kindheitserinnerungen und Urlaube mit Arnold und Familie habe ich nie vergessen.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 7 February 2014 1938 #

      Ah, wie interessant. Ich wußte nicht, daß Herr Bacher Sportler war. Sehr nette Leute, die beiden.

Leave a Reply