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According to a legend, Hum was created on a hill by accident. In ancient times, they say, giants lived in Istria who helped peasants with the difficult tasks of farming and building houses. And in order to protect them, the giants decided to build fortified cities for the humans in the valley of the river Mirna. This is how towns such as Motovun and Grožnjan were created. But when they finished the villages, they still had some rocks left. So in order for them to not be wasted, they used them and built the smallest town in the world – Hum.
When talking about Hum, the local brandy called Biska has to be mentioned as well. It is a traditional Istrian mistletoe brandy and is made from white mistletoe, komovica, and 4 types of herbs. Historically, Biska has long been used as medicine to regulate blood pressure and other diseases. The basic recipe is a remnant of the druidic magic of the ancient Celts who once lived in this area, and white mistletoe was a cult plant of the ancient Celts. The recipe that is used today was invented by a priest of Hum, Josip Vidau in the 20th century. So it is not surprising that every year at the end of October, the brandy festival is held in Hum, where brandy producers from all over Istria compete.
The family distillery Aura has used the original recipe to create Biska and is proud of being an important part of Istrian cultural heritage. They use the leaves of white mistletoe that grow on apple trees. The result is a unique fruit brandy where you can taste the spirit of Istrian tradition. The real Istrians drink a shot of Biska every day to stay healthy, but it is also a great base for cocktails.
If you ever want to feel Istria at home, then try the Istrian Sweet & Sour:
Pour all ingredients into the mixing glass and shake it well with ice—strain in an old-fashioned glass covered with fresh ice cubes. Decorate your drink with a lemon slice.