Most Popular Polish Alcohols

Poland is famous for many things and its local unique alcohols is one of them. Warsaw Local explores some of the most popular and some of the more unknown Polish Alcohols.

1. Żubrówka

Bison Grass Vodka, is a dry, herb-flavored vodka that is distilled from rye and bottled at 40% alcohol.

The distillate is flavored with bison grass, which also gives the spirit its yellow color. This grass grows in the Białowieża Forest. A blade of bison grass is traditionally placed in each bottle of Żubrówka but it’s only decorative.

The name Żubrówka comes from żubr – the Polish word for the European bison, which is eating bison grass.

Typical polish drink based on Żubrówka is called apple pie (szarlotka):

1/2 oz. Żubrówka vodka
Unfiltered apple juice
Cinnamon sticks
Apple in pieces

2. Żołądkowa gorzka

The name translates as “bitter vodka for the stomach.” Żołądkowa Gorzka follows long Polish tradition of herb and fruit vodkas, and a traditional Polish way of producing alcohol infused with fruits and herbs. Despite its name, Żołądkowa Gorzka is a sweet, amber-coloured vodka with a spiced aroma and herbal flavor.

The brand has enjoyed popularity among consumers and has been introduced to international markets. In addition to Poland, Żołądkowa Gorzka is available in the USA, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and Spain.

The Żołądkowa Gorzka brand is now used also for other types of vodka , associated with the traditional product, in flavor variations:

-Wódka Żołądkowa Gorzka z Miętą – with peppermint
-Żołądkowa Gorzka z Miodem – with Polish honey
-Wódka Żołądkowa Gorzka Czysta de Luxe – clear vodka

Drink idea – Orange Fashion:

1 oz. żołądkowa gorzka
Juice from ½ orange
1,5 oz. Sprite

3. Miód pitny

Miód pitny, meaning “drinkable honey”, is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains. The yeast used in mead making is often identical to that used in wine-making.

The alcoholic content ranges from about 8% to more than 20%. The defining characteristic of mead is that the majority of the beverage’s ferment-able sugar is derived from honey. It may be still, carbonated, or naturally sparkling; dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.

Polish mead was added by European authorities in 2008 to the list of Geographical indications and traditional specialties in the European Union.

Drink idea:

2,7 oz. mead
2 oz. apple juice
0,3 oz. lemon juice
Mint leaves

4. Flavored vodkas

Vodka is a distilled beverage made primarily of water and ethanol, sometimes with flavorings. Traditionally, vodka is made by the distillation of fermented cereal grains or potatoes, though some modern brands use other substances, such as fruits or sugar. In Poland, vodka has been produced since the early Middle Ages. While most vodkas are unflavored, many flavored vodkas have been produced often as home-made recipes to improve vodka’s taste or for medicinal purposes.

One of the most famous flavored vodka’s brand is Soplica. They offer: strawberry, plum, quince, cherry, hazelnut, raspberry, black currant, walnut and blueberry.

A bottle of flavored Soplica costs around 29zł.

Second famous flavored vodkas are under Lubelska brand. They offer: black currant, mint, grapefruit, lemon, honey, cranberry, cherry, apple or orange.

A bottle of flavored Lubelska costs around 22zł.

Drink Idea:

2,5 oz. vodka Soplica Orzech Laskowy (hazelnut vodka)
6 oz. milk

5. Krupnik

It is a traditional sweet alcoholic drink similar to a liqueur, based on grain spirit (usually vodka) and honey.

Legend says that the recipe was created by the Benedictine monks at their monastery in 16th century and became popular among the noble class of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Krupnik was also used as a common medicinal disinfectant by Polish soldiers in World War II.

Mass-produced version of krupnik consist of 40–50% alcohol, but traditional versions will use 80–100% grain alcohol as the base. Honey is the main ingredient used to add sweetness, as well as up to 50 different herbs. There are many versions and some recipes have been passed down through generations.

Krupnik is sometimes heated before being served. Hot glass of Krupnik will help you fight flu in winter.

Drink idea(hot drink based on Krupnik for cold winter days):

2,3 oz. Krupnik vodka
2 oz. honey
2 cloves
Half spoon of cinnamon
Half spoon of vanilla sugar
Slice of orange
2 oz. of hot water

6. Śliwowica – Slivovitz

It is a plum brandy made traditionally in Poland. Distilled since 17th century, the brandy contains usually between 70 and 80 % of pure alcohol. According to reliable sources it is 4th strongest vodka in the world, right after absinthe.

High-quality Polish śliwowica is pleasant to the taste and has a delicate fruity aroma, despite its strength.

How is it made? Plums are crushed and fermented. No additional sugar or yeast are permitted. Distillation usually takes place twice. Then śliwowica is matured, often in big, oak barrels.
The drink is slightly yellowish to amber in color.

Drink idea – Plum jam:

1 oz. of śliwowica
2 spoons of plum jam
½ oz. sugar syrup
whole glass of crushed ice

7. Beer (Piwo)

Beer is an oldest and most frequently drunk alcoholic beverage in the world. In Poland, as well, beer has a huge popularity. Brewing traditions on Polish land come from the very, very old times of early Slavic people around year 900- 1000.

The most popular Polish brands of beer in Poland are: Żywiec, Tyskie, Żubr, Lech, Warka. All polish beers contain 4-5% alcohol.

Poland’s most common beers are pilsners, pale ales, and porters.

Most popular polish dark beers are Fortuna Black and Książęce ciemne:

Recently smaller breweries started to be more popular. One of them is producing beers with interesting tastes such as: banana or grapefruit.

Very popular way of drinking beer in Poland is a mixture of beer with fruit juice that should be drunk with a straw. Most popular are raspberry and ginger. Mulled beer is only drunk in the winter. It is warmed-up beer flavored with honey, cinnamon, and cloves

Drink ideal:
15 oz. of wheat beer
2,7 oz. of cherry liqueur
10 oz. of coca-cola

Have we missed your favorite Polish Alcohol? Let us know in the comments



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