Gentian (spirit)

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Enzian (photo 1932 in the Swiss alps)
Dried gentian roots, which are used in production

Gentian (also: Gentian spirit, Gentian schnapps, or Enzian liquor) is a clear distilled alcoholic beverage originating in the Alpine region, produced using gentian root. Enzian is the German word for "Gentian".


Despite the perception that the spirit is produced with gentian flowers (which are depicted in the labeling by many producers), gentian is actually produced using gentian root,[1] most commonly the yellow gentian, which is a larger variety. Less commonly, the roots from other flowers from the Gentian genus are used, such as the purple gentian, brown gentian, or spotted gentian. The harvesting of gentian from the wild is strictly controlled; as a result, fields are planted with the specific purpose of being harvested. In both the EU and Switzerland, the alcoholic strength of Gentian must be at least 37.5 percent alcohol by volume.[1][2]

The oldest Gentian distillery in Germany is the Enzianbrennerei Grassl [de] in Berchtesgaden.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Directive 110". 15 January 2008. on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 1576/89, §18(a)
  2. ^ (in German) Minimum Alcohol Content of Spirits – The Federal Government of the Swiss Confederation