Homemade?

It may not be a particularly good idea.

It involves distillation, which, if not done with some expertise, can leave noxious and obnoxious things in the liquid. Several people go blind each year after drinking homemade hooch.

slivkaš=+ľž

The initial fermentation needs guidance and practice, too, in order to guarantee the final product some proximity to drinkable slivovica.

Slovakia has ca. 150 licenced distilleries, estimates speak of over 100-times more locales where alcohol is distilled at least on occasion.

Bošácka slivovica,™ PGI

It has been on the European Union's list of Protected Geographical Indications since 15 Jan. 2008. Protected what? The makers will not share a shot.

bosslivoh66 A Trenčín company claims the trademark (right), the village of Bošáca claims the "Geographical Indication" (below).

bosslivbo66

Distillery

The distillery needs to know what it is doing – distill it slowly and in stages at various temperatures, but not too long, in order to to retain the favored attributes and to remove the flavors and compounds that ruin slivovica and human sight.

slivka1-126

Reduce the concentrate with distilled water, which can be preferable to letting it distill too long. Experts recommend 51%-52% (102-104 proof), more alcohol overpowers its natural flavors.

slivka2-126

After distillation, half-fill vessels with the distilled slivovica, close them, fan out the air and re-close them periodically for about a week. Slivovica is (or might be) ready to drink, or store in bottles or wooden vessels for ageing.

slivovica126

10 gallons of high-quality mash give about 1 gallon of slivovica with 50%-60% alcohol.

Other fruit commonly fermented to make liquor in Slovakia is pears and apples, rarely wild berries.

Slovak law

The law does not allow home distileries in Slovakia. The publicly certified distilleries can make up to 11.4 US gallons in terms of pure alcohol for one customer during one season at a 50%-reduced tax rate if it is not intended for sale.

Slivovica / Slivovitz

Q: What is the recipe for homemade slivovitz?

Get really ripe, better overripe (no rot or mold) prune plums – sugar plums – slivka, plural slivky in Slovak, Prunus domestica in Latin. No other plums will do for slivovica: the root sliv- refers only to the sugar (prune) plum in several Slavic languages. The liquor made from them is called slivovica [sleevoveetsah] in Slovak, Moravian Czech, šljivovica in Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian (шљивовица), slivovka in Slovene, and is considered a characteristic local drink in most of those regions. The growing of slivky on Slovak territory has been traced back to Great Moravia in the 9th century and may have started earlier.

Fermentation

Remove the stems and put the fresh sugar plums, no dried prunes, in a vessel (vat, barrel). It is better to mash, or even purée them in order to leave little or no room for air among the sugar plums, and between them and the cover. Remove the stones for a smoother taste, as some insist, others leave them in for a "true" taste. You may add a little ammonium phosphate (about 0.3 ounces per 10 US gallons).

Add sugary water if the plums are not really sweet and really, really (over)ripe, which will also help push out the air. Cover tightly, but allow gasses to escape. Stir periodically for the first 2 weeks.

Stop fermentation

Stop the fermentation after about 2+ months when the mash becomes pronouncedly sweet-and-sour and the amount of sugars drops under 3%. Stir in calcium carbonate (CaCO3) or calcium hydroxide (Ca[OH]2), about 4 ounces per 10 US gallons, more if the mash is very sour, in order to remove the sourness. Keep the mash cool and airtight for 1-2 days, then take it to a distillery.

Bystrica plums

Historically, Slovakia's most famous sugar plums (Prunus domestica, var. amygdalina) came from the Banská Bystrica area in central Slovakia. Hence, the choice plums – flavorful-aromatic sweet from trees suitable for cooler climates – used to be called bystričky in Slovak, bystrzyczki in the Podhale and Lesser Poland regions north of the Slovak counties, beszterceiszilva in Hungarian. The published doctor and botanist Anton Weszelszki (Veselský) believed in the 1700s that they were already prized in the early 13th century.

oldslivka

Mostly old trees still bear the top-rated plums. Due to the susceptibility of the fruit to sharka (plum pox), Slovak growers have largely replaced bystričky with less toothy, but sturdier imported cultivars since the early 1990s, mainly from Germany in the 2000s.