Génépi - The Mountain Liquor

Nov 14, 2013

The Tradition

Génépi is famous and traditional liquor from the Alpine region. Its distinct herbal flavor and pale green color originate from the plant (wormwood) it’s made of. This digestive drink is perfect to wash down any hefty mountain meal such as raclette or tartiflette…

The real mountain people have prepared their own Génépi for ages, and still continue doing so, but you can also see commercial bottles sold in some stores and supermarkets. A word of caution- they do not taste like the original home-made version!

The Recipe

Mountaineers all have their secret ways of making their beloved digestif, and it sure varies depending on individual taste. To not give all our secrets away, let's just say that the rule of thumb goes somewhat like this:

However, this recipe makes the liquor pretty sweet, and so we usually reduce the number of sugar down to 20 and infuse 60 flowers in alcohol for stronger aroma. After a minimum of 40 days, the plants are removed from the infusion and the liquid is filtered into bottles- and voilà! 

The Harvest

The most challenging part of making Génépi is to pick up the flowers as they grow in steep scree slopes of mountains. It’s most certainly not an easy task and accidents happen every year. Thus, in addition to good weather conditions, one needs to be cautious, know the place and surely have sense of adventure! It really just comes down to common sense like always when dealing with mountains. The harvesting time is around July – August, depending on how long the past winter has been…

The Regulation

Additionally one needs to pay attention to the regulations concerning the amount that can be picked up: 100 flowers per day per person, which would result in about 2.5 liters of liquor. You may think now “Well, how would anyone know how many flowers in pick up somewhere lost in the mountains…” – they have actual mountain guards who hike around the known spots to catch people! Every summer you hear about some Génépi smugglers whose backpacks were filled with the plants...and if you get caught, they don't only destroy your precious catch, they'll also give you a nice fine! Better not get too greedy…;)

Spectacular views come as a bonus!


Does your country or region have any traditional drinks similar to Génépi?

Read more about our alpine adventures here.


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