You can smell the aroma of Alpine pine cones from the Moravian liqueur Limbowitz

Vladimír Horký s limbovicí

“The man with an Austrian-Hungary Empire moustache can fully enjoy the life,” comes to your mind when you meet a businessman Vladimír Horký for the first time. It’s clear that almost all the ingredients in his recipe smell like forest, mountains, and nature. You can see it in his hunting trophies on the wall of a meeting office in one of his companies. But mainly, these unique features are present in the exclusive Limbowitz liqueur which is made according to his original recipe by distillery of Milan Metelka.

It was almost ten years ago during his hunting expeditions in Austrian Carinthia, when Vladimír Horký tasted the original version of the beverage which taste and name is defined by Pinius Cembra cones. “The Limbowitz is popular in Austria and Italy. Pinius Cembra’s pine cones are harvested only once every two years after they’re mature enough. That can take about 20 years. Pinus cembra is native to the sub-alpine zones and it grows at over 2,300 metres altitude. The cones must be harvested from a ladder from June to July when they are still green. When pine cones become woody, they can’t be used at all,” he says about difficult conditions of making the liqueur.

Instead of apple brandy, he tried vodka
Homemade rowans and apple distillate is commonly used as a base for limbowitz in Austria. “They macerate chopped or crushed cones in this liquid and add other ingredients to it. I didn’t like the taste of rowan berries or apples though. I said to myself I would try it differently. I brought frozen pine cones and I cut them and put them in vodka,” Horký recalled. During that time, he made several bottles of that liqueur just for joy and a special treat for his friends. “Then I invited the Austrians to hunt with me and those rascals almost drank all my limbowitz. Just two bottles were left,” the passionate hunter laughed.

A major breakthrough occurred during the visit of the chef of the former restaurant Kastelán in Brno. Michal Göth is now the chef in the Hotel Miura in Čeladná. “He’s the best chef I know. He was at our place to taste French wines back then. My wife told me ‘Give him your limbowitz’. So I did. He drank it and liked it very much. He asked me why I didn’t produce it,” he described the crucial moment when he decided to bulk produce the liqueur according to his own recipe.

Even Milan Metelka has liked Limbowitz
He discussed the possibilities with friends and one of them advised him to contact Milan Metelka. “I visited him in his former distillery in Moravské Prusy. He didn’t trust me because many people with various ideas often visit him. When he tasted the limbowitz for the first time he said: ‘That’s good! I’ll produce it for you.’ And that’s how it all started,” he said. It took some time until we tune up all details of the production. Finally, the first thousand litres of the new liqueur were produced. “I just gave him the precise recipe and the raw material which Milan Metelka poured into the tanks,” he added.

There was still one thing needed to be solved – the name. There was a suggestion that the name could be Limbovice. But Horký pointed out that suffix ‘–ice’ is connected with traditional fruit brandy (slivovice, hruškovice, meruňkovice). “During that time, there was an infamous alcoholic affair and I was warned that a business inspection could consider it as consumer confusion. People could be confused by its name and they might think it was brandy. So we had to think up a different name until we agreed on the name Limbowitz. We have a trademark on Limbowitz and even on Limbovice,” the lover of good food and drink explained. The last thing to do was a design. The logo, the complete graphic design and the name Limbowitz were designed by the studio Design Herynek in Olomouc.

Would you like the Limbowitz ice cream?
The first batch that was about two and a half thousand bottles is almost sold out. The last few pieces can be bought directly from Vladimir Horký or in the Metelka Liquor Shop in Vyškov. “However, they will produce more bottles of the liqueur in the Metelka distillery soon. I have cones in stock ready for twenty thousand bottles of the liqueur. I’d love to spend more time on the limbowitz and its improvement this year. It has tremendous potential but not only it’s a great beverage but it’s beneficial and curative for your upper respiratory tract,” he says. The liqueur is perfect for cooking as an unmistakable ingredient. “For example, Michal Göth makes a sorbet (a frozen dessert) in the hotel Miura. He has cooked venison and wild boar only with limbowitz,” recalls Horký.

It looks like there won’t be only one type of limbowitz in the future. “I have been thinking for a long time that I will mix limbowitz with something different. Someone suggested mixing it with rum but that’s stupid in my opinion. A much better idea is to mix it with gin. Their flavours would merge together perfectly and complete each other as well. The liqueur shouldn’t be sweet for these purposes and I will have to produce it without added sugar. Just imagine that there is gin with limbowitz colour tone in a clear bottle. That would be amazing,” Horký suggested another possible use of his excellent liqueur.

You can buy the Limbowitz liqueur in our e-shop