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Ţuică is an alcoholic beverage specific to Romania produced through a complex process of distillation from fermented plums.
Better than Vodka, it contains double distilled plum or other fruits. It is sort of a plum brandy, but with a specific taste. If you want to taste this unique drink, you need to travel to Transylvania and have a drink with the locals.
It is said that Burebista, the leader of the Dacian people, an ancient population who lived on Rumanian territory, had a liver condition that didn't allow him to drink any wine. Jealous that his people could get drunk at will and have lots of fun on his behalf, he burned all the wineries and vineyards in his kingdom.
Everybody knows that people in Romania are inventive. So were the Dacians. They took what was left of the wines, distilled them, and drank the results. They loved it. Then they began experimenting with other things. The conclusion was: anything that ferments can be turned into ţuică. All fruits, vegetables, organic remains, dirt, fecal matter etc.
Tuica is a favorite alcoholic drink in Romania, it is widely spread and extremely cheap to buy if it is of bad quality. An old and strong ţuica has a price up to 25 euro per liter.
In northern Romania there is a stronger form of ţuica, up to 60 % alcohol; commonly known as palinca (but palinka is a protected name only for a Hungarian product) made from "boiled plums", it is double distiled.
"Ţuica" made in Zalău, Sălaj county, is the best "ţuica" ever made. The secret formula gives you instant feeling like you must drink more and more, until "ţi se taie filmu'" (an expression for black out).
Palinca [pa LINK uh] is a traditionalised Hungarian/Rumanian liquor that is made from fermented (rotten) plums, peaches, apricots or any other rotten fruit. The word palinca comes from the centuries-old term palinkata, which of course, means "put me in a happy place". In addition, the drug "palincaine" is derived from the basic atomic structure of this exact same base. In the country of Romania specifically, palincaine has been used as a numbing agent for years by dentists and physicians and it's still used by many pacients before visiting the physician as a primary painkiller.
The typical family will drink a "shot" of palinca before, during and after every meal of the day.