Pálenka denotes any kind of distillate, but especially fruit distillate, in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is also often used as a generic word for all kinds of liquors, including vodka, gin, borovička, etc. The word derives from the Slavonic stem "páliť", to distil.
Most traditional types of pálenka in Slovakia are slivovica (plum spirit), ražná (grain spirit), borovička (a special kind of liquor distilled from the berries of Juniperus communis), hruškovica (pear spirit), jablkovica (apple spirit). Popular are also čerešňovica (cherry spirit) and marhuľovica (apricot spirit). Very expensive is pálenka distilled from fermented forest berries, including raspberries, blueberries and cranberries. Drienkovica (a spirit distilled from Cornelian cherries (Cornus mas) was popularized by former Slovak president Rudolf Schuster.
The word pálenka was borrowed by Hungarians (pálinka) and Romanians (palincă).
Pálinka, a fruit brandy made in Hungary
Rakia, a brandy made throughout the Balkans
Ţuică, a similar drink in Romania.
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