© Holzknechtnockn (photo: RudiKainPhotografie)
Holzknechtnockn is a traditional dish in the Holiday Region Dachstein Salzkammergut (photo: RudiKainPhotografie)

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The art of schnapps distillation

Distilling schnapps is still widespread in the Dachstein Salzkammergut. However, to produce the best drop is not easy, but requires experience, skill and a fine nose!

How is schnapps produced?

The distilling of schnapps is strictly regulated by the state and the local farmers take the distilling of schnapps just as strictly. After all, everyone has the best fruits and has to do justice to the year after year. The starting shot for removing the seal from the kettle is fired after the mash (fruit stored and fermented in barrels) has worked out (fermented), or more precisely when a leathery skin has already formed over the mash. The quantity of the mash has been taken exactly by the "financier" or has been reported to him. He calculates the amount of schnapps that can finally drip into the bottle.

What comes after the mash?

The mash is now heated in the copper boiler, the steam produced is discharged through a copper tube which is guided through a cooling vat filled with water. There the steam condenses to so-called luter water, a 9°-10° "schnapps", a rather weak drink, which finally runs into five litre bottles. If the entire mash has become luter water (the unusable remainder of the mash is poured away as "Brod"), the second pass, the refining, begins. The scrupulously cleaned copper kettle is now filled with the luter water and the evaporation or condensation process starts all over again. What now drips into the bottle at the end of the copper pipe can usually be seen or tasted: A genuine fruit, apple or plum brandy, with about 20°, which corresponds to an alcohol content of approx. 50%.

What is the secret of a great schnapps?

What sounds so factual and easy to understand here is an almost mysterious procedure in the Distillery. Everyone has his own recipe, only exquisite fruit is used, and that's exactly how it tastes, the real schnapps from the Inner Salzkammergut, a little different in every place, but unmistakable everywhere.
Thus, of the many winter activities of the farmer, the "noblest", the distilling of schnapps, has been preserved. Well get it!

For all those who would like to learn more about this beautiful tradition, there is the website of the Goiserer Schnapsdunstkreis.