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Krakow booze - the ultimate vodka how-to drinking guide

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Vodka ( wódka ) is by far the No. 1 Polish brew and is consumed in astonishing quantities. Vodka has always been ubiquitous and abundant, and a product of the first necessity. Even when the Poles aren't celebrating, they're often drinking. You can take it for granted that there's at least one emergency bottle in every Polish home and that it will appear on the table as soon as a visitor arrives. Moreover, it's supposed to be emptied before the guest leaves.
 
So, if you want to drink like a Pole how should you go about it? The simple answer would be to consume everything you can get your hands on, and then some. A more pleasant approach might be to adopt the vodka toasting during a meal; although a Polish family might get through a few bottles, at least this technique is somewhat self-regulating, in that when everyone starts to get wrecked the number of toasts per minute should gradually fall.

To begin with, forget about using vodka in coctails (one exception to this rule below)! In Poland vodka is drunk neat, not dilluted or mixed, in glasses usually 50ml but ranging from 25 to 100ml. Regardless of the size of the glass, though, it is drunk in one gulp, or "do dna" ("to the bottom"), as Poles say. A chunk of herring in oil or other accompaniment, or a sip of mineral water or juice, is consumed just after drinking to give some relief to the throat, and the glasses are immediately refilled for the next drink. As you might expect, at such a rate you won't be able to keep up with your fellow drinkers for long, and will soon end up well out of touch with the real world. We suggest, go easy and either miss a few turns or sip your drink in stages. Though this seems to be beyond comprehension to a "normal" Polish drinker, you, as a foreigner and guest, will be treated with due indulgence

To avoid when drinking:
•  Don't drink vodka in cocktail form, or diluted with coca-cola, orange or tomato juice. In Poland this is considered crime.
•  Don't drink and drive!
•  Whatever you do, don't try to outdrink a Pole! (This, however, does not refer to Russians, respect!)


We recommends: top vodka brands and top vodka drink

Top vodka brands:

Zubrowka "the one with grass" Bison Brand Vodka (distilled by Polmos Bialystok) - while Bison Brand (it is flavored with grass from the Bialowieza forest on which the bison feed) does have an unique taste, it is not a "flavored vodka.
 
It's a true and pure Polish potato vodka distilled three times and charcoal filtered to achieve a gold standard of purity. Unlike most vodkas that are bottled at 80 proof, Bison Brand's master distillers have found that taking up to 82 proof actually enhances its unique flavor".



Chopin vodka (distilled by Polmos Siedlce) is a single-ingredient, pure vodka, distilled from 100% organic potatoes grown in the Podlasie region. Due to its low level of industrialization, this area is one of the healthiest, most fertile agricultural regions in Europe.
 
A half-litre bottle of Zubrowka costs less than five euro in a shop (Chopin 0.75l sells for around 15 euro), but in restaurants it can double or even triple the price.




Top vodka drink: Tatanka
 
As, here at CracowOnline.com , we are not heavy drinkers at all (which is, obviously, a shame) our favourite choice (and socially acceptable) is drinking Zubrowka vodka with a dash of apple juice in the form of a Tatanka drink .
 
Ingredients: Directions:
1 oz Zubrowka vodka
4 oz apple juice
Pour Zubrowka vodka over ice in an old-fashioned glass. Add apple juice (in a 4:1 ration) and a lemon wedge, and serve.

Why Tatanka?
Tatanka is a Lakota (Indian tribe) word that literally means "bull buffalo". This drink in other parts of Poland (especially in the north of the country) is also known as szarlotka (apple pie).

A glass of tatanka in a pub in Krakow costs less than two euro



Other alcoholic drinks
 
These days drinking habits in the cities are changing, with Poles increasingly turning to beer instead of vodka. Polish beer ( piwo ) comes in a number of local brands, the best (we mean it!) include Zywiec, Okocim and Tyskie . Beer is readily available in shops, cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants - virtually everywhere. Depending on the class of the establishement, a half-litre bottle of Polish beer will cost anything from one to two euros. The retail price is around half euro.
 
Poland doesn't have much of a wine tradition and consumption is limited. The country doesn't produce wine ( wino ), apart from a suspicious, very cheap (1 litre costs around half euro), alcoholic liquid made on the basis of apples and who knows what else, nicknamed by Poles jabol . Of course, French or Spanish wines are available in shops and restaurants, though some of them are fairly expensive.
 
Cheers! (Na zdrowie!)