Patxaran is a clear, reddish-brown, sweet digestive liqueur made in the Basque areas of Spain such as Navarre, and somewhat in the bordering Basque-speaking Pyrenées area of France. Thus, you will see both Spanish and French terms used in discussing it.
It is made from sloe plums let steep for several months (between 1 and 8 months) in alcohol flavoured with anise along with some coffee beans and a vanilla pod. By regulation, 4 to 8 oz (125 to 250g) of sloe plums must be used per US quart (litre) of finished product. No additional flavourings or colourings are allowed.
The alcohol content ranges from 25 to 30%.
The product quality and marketing are organized through an organization called the “Consejo Regulador D.E. Pacharán Navarro”, formed in 1988. The name “Pacharán Navarro” was created as a “Denominación Específica.” To be called “Pacharán Navarro”, it must be made within Navarre.
Homemade Patxaran still is made, called “Pacharán Casero”, but producers are trying to stop its being sold as Pacharán in restaurants, hotels and cafés, as was always done in the past, in order to ensure “quality.”
One brand is Zoco, which started in 1956, now owned by Pernod Ricard España. Other brands are Etxeko (not as sweet), Olatz, Basarana, Las Endrinas, La Camerana, and Atxa.
Served chilled or on ice after meals as a digestive.
Patxaran was always made in homes. Commercial production started only in the late 1800s.
Production ramped up after the war in the 1950s, and new producers entered the market.
The word “Patxaran” comes from the Basque name for a sloe plum, “basarana.”
It has been called “Patxaran” in Navarre since the end of the 1800s.