The local bookstore with a Global Conscience

Fiction, non-fiction, environment, poetry, history, mystery, biography, travel guides, children, young adult... and much, much more!

Wide selection of quality second-hand English paperbacks at reasonable prices. The most "dangerous" street in Budapest: good books and gourmet food

The Soda Water Bottle: Let's Fröccs it Up!

The last few days have seen the death of the last nationwide reusable mineral water bottle in Hungary - the Margit Szigeti 1.5 liter. The mineral water company has been owned by Pepsi for many years, and considering how early they stopped reusable bottles for their other lines, it is amazing the mineral water held out for so long. What to do now? The answer is something that in the States I only ever found in my father's Edmund Scientific  catalogs - the low tech, retro, but cheap and efficient soda water bottle with reusable CO2 cartridges.

Yes, those soda water bottles you are used to seeing only in Laurel and Hardy movies are alive and well in Hungary. There are two main types - the Szódásszifon (otherwise known as szikvíz) takes CO2 cartridges, and the smaller Habszifon to make whipped cream takes NO2 cartridges (otherwise known as laughing gas). The cartridges can be bought at most shops at the check-out register. Just ask for a box of szodasszifon patron, or habszifon patron. I think a box of 10 is only about 100 forint. What a bargain, and much less environmental impact than throw-away bottles! The bottles themselves can be purchased at larger household goods stores (haztartasi bolt) or used goods stores (hasznalt cikkek). If you have a bottle and it needs repair like a rubber washer replaced or something, try the place on the corner of Izabella u. and Kiraly u. (6th/7th District).  Best of all, after being 2.5 years at this location, I just discovered a place right next door to the csengery u. shop at Hunyadi ter 3 (in the courtyard)  that supplies soda water made on the premises in refillable bottles!

The other good thing about having a soda water bottle is that you can make fröccs (spritzer)at home to relieve the summer heat. Hungarians have a very rich fröccs culture. A frocks usually involves dry white wine, but you can use anything. Here is a fairly complete list:
•    nagyfröccs (big spritzer): 2 dl wine + 1 dl soda water
•    hosszú lépés (long step): 1 dl wine + 2 dl soda water
•    kisfröccs (small spritzer/short step): 1 dl wine + 1 dl soda water
•    továbbá házmester (janitor): 3 dl wine + 2 dl soda water
•    viceházmester: 2 dl wine + 3 dl soda water
•    lakófröccs (resident): 1 dl wine + 4 dl soda water
•    polgármester (mayor): 6 dl wine + 4 dl soda water
•    maflás (clinker)5 dl wine + 5dl soda water
•    Krúdy-fröccs: 1 dl wine + 9 dl soda water
•    Forditott hosszúlépés (inverted long step): 2 dl soda water + 1 dl wine
•    Fordítottja a Vicehazmester (inverted vicehazmester): 2 dl wine + 3 dl soda water
•    Haziur/Tömbházmester/Bivalycsok (landlord/large janitor/buffalo kiss): 4 dl wine + 1 dl soda water
•    Csattos: 1 litre wine + 1/2 litre soda water
•    Lampas (lamplighter): 1 1/2 litre wine + 1/2 litre soda water
•    SÓHER (skint) - 9 dl soda water + 1 dl wine for flavour
•    KASS v. TISZA fröccs: red wine with champagne
•    KISVADÁSZ (small hunter): 1 dl red wine + 1 dl cola
•    NAGYVADÁSZ (large hunter): 2 dl red wine + 1 dl cola

Wineless Spritzers:
•    almafröccs (apple spritzer): 2dl apple juice 1 dl soda water
•    Újházy fröccs: in place of soda water, use pickle juice from kovászos uborka (pickles made with fermented bread in water instead of vinegar)
•    MATRÓZFRÖCCS: (sailor): pint of beer with ½ dl rum chaser
•    POSTÁSFRÖCCS: (postman) double esspresso with rum