If you're a regular listener of the Paul & Al show, or if you've been on an HJY rafting trip, you've probably heard of "Al's Honey Hooch." Well, the real name is Krupnikas, a Lithuanian honey liqueur, and I've been making it for friends and family (and myself, of course!) for the last 35 years...ever since I was able to legally buy grain alcohol, one of the key ingredients.
Every Lithuanian family has its own Krupnikas recipe, and in my case, I learned how to make it from my uncle, who would give me a bottle at Christmastime every year. My friends and I would polish that bottle off in a week, and then I'd have to wait 51 weeks before I got another one. That didn't last very long, and so I started making my own...tweaking and perfecting my uncle's recipe over the last three decades, until it tasted the way I envisioned it should.
Meanwhile, a childhood friend of mine who now lives in North Carolina and is a phD and Professor of Micology (yes, that would be mushrooms and fungi) at Duke University, has a son who is now not only making his own Krupnikas recipe, but successfully bottling and selling the stuff in North Carolina as well.
Word is that pretty soon you'll be able to buy the Krupnikas on line, but in the meantime, you'll have to go to an ABC store or bar in Durham, North Carolina to try Brothers Vilgalys Spirits Krupnikas.
Nice to see Rim Vilgalys, the founder of Brother Vilgalys Spirits, doing something I wish I was able to do in my younger days: put his Krupnikas out on the market. Though our recipes are very different (his has spicier and pepperier notes), I think our forefathers would be proud of either one.