© Tirol Werbung / Rodler Ilvy
Food & Drink
© Bert Heinzelmeier
© Tirol Werbung / Aichner Bernhard
Arts & Culture
© Tirol Werbung / Moore Casey
© Tirol Werbung / Herbig Hans
© Tirol Werbung / Schwarz Jens
Bits & Pieces
© Tirol Werbung / Neusser Peter
Jagdhausalmen Alpine Pastures, Defereggen, East Tirol, Austria, Europe

Fine, Fruity, Formidable – The Best Schnapps From Tirol

Updated on 03.02.2020 in Food & Drink

Aldranser Alm, Schnapsglas

Autumn is the time of year in Tirol when preparations are in full swing at local distilleries to turn local fruit and turnips into schnapps. As winter arrives, the distilling process begins. When it comes to drinking these fine, fruity and formidable creations, however, there is no special season. Anytime is good! Just remember one thing: if you are invited to a local person's house and offered a glass of schnapps, it is considered impolite to decline. Scroll down to find out about some of the best schnapps from the region. "Cheers!", or as we say here in Tirol: "Prost!"

1. Meisterwurz

Meisterwurz schnapps has been made in Tirol for hundreds of years. Made from the Meisterwurz or masterwort plant, it has a fresh and fruity taste. Masterwort is a flowering plant native to mountain pastures. The Zillertal Valley is particularly well known for this schnapps variety. Thanks to its high concentration of essential oils, the masterwort plant has been used for many centuries to treat all manner of ailments. In some parts of Tirol, people still burn masterwort incense in their living room in order to drive away evil spirits.

Meisterwurz schnapps from the Brennerei Giggus distillery in Stanz near Landeck.Meisterwurz schnapps from the Brennerei Giggus distillery in Stanz near Landeck.

2. Krautinger

Krautinger is a schnapps famous throughout Tirol and particularly associated with one specific region: Wildschönau. Indeed, it was Empress Maria Theresia herself who, centuries ago, gave the inhabitants of this region in the east of Tirol the exclusive right to produce Krautinger schnapps. Back then this monopoly was awarded to 51 local distilleries. Today, the tradition is continued by around 15 distilleries still producing this turnip-based spirit. The ingredients, including the turnips themselves as well as the beech trees required for the distilling process, are all sourced from the local region. The taste can best be described as unusual and intense. It is no surprise that locals call Krautinger „medicine and elixir all in one“!

Turnips grown in the Wildschönau region are used to create authentic Krautinger schnapps.Turnips grown in the Wildschönau region are used to create authentic Krautinger schnapps.

3. Enzian

The gentian („Enzian“ in German) is a flower typically found in pastures and meadows throughout Tirol. The schnapps which is produced from it has an aromatic and bitter taste. It is often used as a natural remedy for an upset stomach. Enzians grow at up to 2,500 metres above sea level and do not blossom until they are ten years of age. This is why all wild gentians growing in Tirol are protected by law and must not be picked. The gentian roots used to make this schnapps are grown and harvested specifically for this purpose. The schnapps is rarely available to buy in shops – the scarcity of ingredients makes it simply too precious and rare to sell. If you really want to try some, we recommend visiting the village of Galtür. A number of families there have been granted a license to produce gentian schnapps, so if you are lucky they might just have a glass of it left over for you.

Gentian schnapps made by distiller Peter Schiechtl from Imsterberg.Gentian schnapps made by distiller Peter Schiechtl from Imsterberg.

4. Pregler

Pregler is another schnapps associated with a specific part of Tirol: Lienz in East Tirol. Indeed, this variety of schnapps must be made in this area for it to be called a „Pregler“. The ingredients are different kinds of apples and pears grown in the region, with some distillers even including plums in the mix. There is even a special guideline from the Austrian Food Authority on what can and can’t be in a „Pregler“. The resulting taste is clear and fruity. By the way, „Pregeln“ is a dialect word still used in East Tirol today as a synonym for distilling schnapps.

A genuine „Pregler“ from the Naturbrennerei Kuenz distillery in Dölsach, East Tirol.A genuine „Pregler“ from the Naturbrennerei Kuenz distillery in Dölsach, East Tirol.

5. Stanzer Zwetschke

The village of Stanz near Landeck enjoys a sunny location and dry climate that make it ideal for growing plums. The Stanzer Zwetschke schnapps is famous throughout Tirol and beyond. Indeed, no fewer than 53 of the 160 households in Stanz have a license to produce this schnapps. If you fancy trying some, we recommend a visit to the state-of-the-art distillery of Christoph Kössler, one of Tirol’s most well-known and successful schnapps producers. „Schnapps“, by the way, is a word which Kössler himself doesn’t like to use. Instead, he prefers the term „fine fruit brandy“ to describe exquisite spirits produced through distillation.

The Feindestillerie Kössler distillery is one of the places where plums are turned into fine fruit brandy. Photo: Tirol Werbung / Lisa HörtererThe Feindestillerie Kössler distillery is one of the places where plums are turned into fine fruit brandy. Photo: Tirol Werbung / Lisa Hörterer

6. Schnappsbrennerei Rochelt

The Schnapsbrennerei Rochelt is a distillery in the village of Fritzens which quite simply makes some of the best spirits in the world. This family-run business uses only the finest fruit and berries harvested by hand to produce 20 varities of outstanding schnapps, including everything from apple to rowanberry. Once the distilling process is complete, the schnapps is left to mature for around ten years in huge open glass balloons kept in the loft. Only then is it ready to be bottled, sold and enjoyed.

Each Rochelt schnapps comes in one of the company’s signature green bottles. Photo: Tiroler Schnapsbrennerei RocheltEach Rochelt schnapps comes in one of the company’s signature green bottles. Photo: Tiroler Schnapsbrennerei Rochelt

Tirol Schnapps Route

Selected distilleries in Tirol offer visitors the opportunity to see how schnapps is made – from growing the fruit to distilling the mash and, of course, tasting the delicious end product. The Tirol Schnapps Route is a walking trail connecting several of these locations in different areas of the region.

World traveller, lover of new experiences, and Tirol aficionado Eckard Speckbacher is out exploring the hidden attractions. He offers insight into places and destinations that are less well known, along with restaurant and hotel recommendations.

Last article from Eckard
Updated on 19.02.2024 in Recommendations
Tips for a Day in Seefeld
6 min reading time
Updated on 22.01.2024 in Recommendations
My Top 5 Ski Towns in Tirol
3 min reading time
Updated on 15.01.2024 in Recommendations
Tips for a Ski Day in Kitzbühel
5 min reading time
Updated on 12.05.2023 in Sports
Tirol Mountains: 10 Must-See Peaks
5 min reading time
Flower-filled meadow in the Hohe Tauern National Park, © Hohe Tauern National Park
Updated on 02.05.2023 in Bits & Pieces
Identifiying Alpine Wild Flowers in Tirol
5 min reading time
Kaunertal Valley has long been the playground of hip snowboarders—and this apartment serves as a stylish basecamp.
Updated on 20.01.2023 in Recommendations
10 Only-in-Tirol Places to Stay
4 min reading time
Frau Naschberger from Reith im Alpbachtal with a pair of her homemade "Doggln" slippers.
Updated on 12.12.2022 in Bits & Pieces
Great Gift Ideas – Top 16 Things to Buy in Tirol
8 min reading time
Goldenes Dachl.
, © Tirol Werbung / George Marshall
Updated on 10.06.2021 in Recommendations
What to see in Innsbruck
3 min reading time
Am Achensee
Updated on 31.01.2019 in Sports
My Top 5 Tirol bike routes for leisure cyclists
3 min reading time
Wildschoenau Oberau
Updated on 01.10.2018 in Food & Drink
Wildschönau Region: Awesome Places to Stay and Dine
7 min reading time
All articles from Eckard
No comments available
Write comment

Keep reading

Go up

Is your inbox in need of a holiday?

Then subscribe to our weekly newsletter full of exclusive holiday tips from Tirol!