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Sporer Bar in der Getreidegasse in Salzburg | © Julia Heuberger
Sporer Fine Spirits: where enjoyment is the only “proof” you need
At No. 39 Getreidegasse, you will discover a rare jewel that is guaranteed to keep you in” high spirits”. Now run by the fourth generation of the family, the Sporer Likör- & Punschmanufaktur serves hand-blended masterpieces based on secret recipes. Especially during Christmas season, “der Sporer” on Getreidegasse is a popular hotspot for a shot of the good stuff to warm up body, mind and soul.
At this small premises which also includes a bar, you are enveloped by the intoxicating fragrances of fine spirits. Here, where it smells so wonderfully of punch, rum and wine, barrels of ancient oak are stored along the walls, the house blends within maturing slowly towards their ultimate destiny. “A fruit punch, please, and two glasses of Weissburgunder”, a customer shouts across the counter. A guest from Munich and his girlfriend want to sample the homemade walnut liqueur. Two young ladies prefer to go with the Sporer classic and order the hot, beguiling orange punch.
What everyone’s heart desires
Michael Sporer, proud fourth-generation representative of this punch and spirits dynasty, stands behind the counter cheerfully serving his guests: “Our business is like a cozy living room for everyone, a place where you can do whatever your heart desires: taste, drink, buy or simply pick up a few tips.” Indeed. Everyone chats with everyone, regulars advise tourists, customers from near and far visiting Sporer’s to pick up “their” blend sample a shot or two, or have the bottles they brought with them refilled. In the adjacent alleyway and on the Getreidegasse out front, guests stand engaged in excited conversation. It appears that “der Sporer” is one of those rare places in Salzburg where the locals get caught up in conversations with one another as well as with guests. No wonder that the spirits here are so high and enjoyment is a matter of pride.
A family with liquid secrets
It was back in 1897 when Franz Sporer, a native of the Innviertel, moved from neighboring Upper Austria to Salzburg. After apprenticing as a maltman at the Stiegl brewery, the newlywed acquired a concession in 1903 along with the inventory necessary to open his own business on Getreidegasse. The “Franz Sporer Brandy, Liqueur and Rum Shop” opened its doors for the first time. Then as now, the most important products were homemade schnapps, rum and liqueurs. All of the liquid secrets are written down in the “Sporer Bible”, a confidential family recipe book which also contains first handwritten mention of the “Original Sporer Orange Punch”. “My grandmother was a very good cook”, recounts Michael Sporer, “she is also credited with refining the original punch recipe.” But since then, nothing more has been changed, he assures us. Using other formulas equally as old, Michael Sporer also conjures up raspberry and walnut schnapps, elderberry, mocha and caraway liqueurs, along with semi-sweet herbal bitters, the so-called “house blend”, created from 19 different herbs, berries and roots.
Manufactory with secrets firmly in the master’s hand
For a long time, production took place on the first floor of their shop in the Getreidegasse. Their exquisite elixirs were blended there and allowed to mature in old oak and earthenware barrels until the perfect point in time. Michael Sporer relocated production a few years ago to the Maxglan district of Salzburg. Back at their business on Getreidegasse, the first floor is now home to the Sporer offices, where wife Susanne judiciously administers the family business drawing upon her own extensive experience.
As has always been the case, production stays firmly in the hands of the son and heir. “Only my father and I know the family recipes,” says the bearded mid 40-year-old. While the employees do help prepare the ingredients, for example by cutting up nuts or pinecones, it is the boss who is solely responsible for creating the infusions, mixing and producing.
Living tradition with a modern touch
“For me, tradition doesn’t only mean preserving the old things, it’s also about using your knowledge to develop something new”, says Michael Sporer. That’s precisely why this certified sommelier has added to their product line outstanding wines as well as fine spirits that include international whiskeys, vodka, schnapps and gin specialties. Furthermore, Sporer harnesses his treasure trove of experience to create new gems of his own – most recently, a delicious lemon liqueur, an extremely popular vermouth and the so-called “Wildschütz” – a delectably smooth pine schnapps with elder-blossom liqueur.
As is happening at this very moment, just before 7 o’clock in the evening a bit of a stir ripples through the gathered guests at No. 39 Getreidegasse. “Last orders!” the boss shouts, giving him one final opportunity to top up the glasses of everyone who wants. A wave of “chin-chins”, “prosts” and “cheers” flows from one group of assembled imbibers to the next! Roughly half an hour later and it’s closing time.
Recipe: Original Sporer Orange Punch
• ratio 1:4
• 5cl Sporer Orange Punch
• 0.25l water
The punch extract has a substantial alcohol content of 50% by volume. That’s why this essence needs to be diluted with water quite significantly before being consumed – the suggested ratio being 1:4. The water shouldn’t boil, but be approximately 70°C instead, resulting in the best taste and allowing you to enjoy your “Original Sporer Orange Punch” to the full. Prost!
Tips: This punch also tastes excellent in a fruit- or black tea, perhaps supplemented with some freshly pressed orange juice. Or you can serve it in summer as an iced punch – on ice and lemon with a spritz of soda.