I lived in Warsaw, Poland for one amazing summer with seven other students while doing some research with our Sociology professor. In case you are unfamiliar, Warsaw is the capital and largest city in Poland. It is a bustling cosmopolitan town full of rich history, and may just be one of the world’s best kept travel secrets. Vice magazine has a seven-part series about Poland that gives you the flavor of the country better than I can, check it out here if you have the time and are interested. Often, telling people you studied abroad in Poland gets a few ridiculous questions like “do they have running water?” Or, “was the chicken weird.” Yes, of course; and no, it was not. Not only did the water flow freely, so did the vodka.
One thing Poles know best is good vodka. I tried a few (many) drinks while I was there, but my favorite cocktail hands-down was something called the Polish Kiss. No fancy ingredients needed for this Happy Hour Friday, because this drink is all about the liquor. It is made with Zubrowka vodka,also known as Bison Grass Vodka, mixed with apple juice. Zubrowka is considered a “flavored” vodka, but in my opinion it is so drastically different from the sugary sweet flavored vodkas we are used to here in the states that it is almost embarrassing that it has been forced into that category. Zubrowka is truly one of a kind, and you are either going to love it or hate it – but I hope you will love it as much as I do! It is slightly fruity, but also a bit woodsy with deeper notes of almonds and vanilla. Each bottle comes with a blade of buffalo grass inside, mostly for decoration, I think it’s a nice touch.
The Polish Kiss is super refreshing and really light. It is a perfect sipper cocktail and is best enjoyed hanging out on a front porch with a few pals during these first warmer days of spring. Here is what you need:
3oz Zubrowka or Bison Grass Vodka
Apple Juice-depends on how strong you like yours
Garnish with your choice of bison grass, apple slices, lemon, or even fresh mint.
I have not been able to find Zubrowka here in the MOV, which is a bummer. But never fear my friends, I would not leave you hanging like that. There is a version by Bak’s simply titled “Bison Grass Vodka” which can be purchased at the Kroger in Athens, Ohio. I know, it is a bit of a haul, but it will be worth it.
And if you ever get a chance to travel to Poland, I hope you take it. Right now Poland is still using the złoty, not the Euro, so your $1 equals $3 złoty! Lodging, food, and drink are super affordable, so you can see and do a lot on the cheap. Happy sipping, do widzenia!