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Day 58, Cocktails 51, 52, 53 

Whew, another Polish Fest is in the books!  To say it was fun would be an understatement.  The food – pierogies, stuffed cabbage, kielbasi…hmmm!  The polka music and dancing.  And of course, the vodka!  You have to love a festival that features vodka tastings! 

My vodka weekend started Friday night with a classic vodka martini.  Yes, I normally prefer to drink gin martinis.  However, the vodka martini is sometimes a nice change of pace and is the only other cocktail that you will see me refer to as a “martini”.  Besides, if it’s good enough for James Bond, it’s good enough for me! 

  Vodka Martini 

  • 3oz Chopin vodka
  • 1/4 oz Martini & Rossi dry vermouth
  • 1 dash Agnosturo bitters

Combine in a shaker with 4-5 ice cubes.  Shake vigourously to chill and mix.  Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with three unstuffed cocktail olives.  

Enjoy as all your troubles slip away! 

Saturday was the big day for us.  We piled into the van with Brett, Greg and Patty and headed down to Polish Fest.  Sue and Mark and Don and Dawn joined us after a delicious dinner for the main even of the evening – the Sobieski vodka tasting!  We actually tasted 6 vodkas and then 4 meads – another Polish delicacy.  I am taking the liberty of counting the vodka tasting as one cocktail and the mead tasting as one cocktail.  Considering that the tastings covered a total of 10 shots (OK, so they were only 1/2 oz, but still), I think they count towards my mission. 

Vodka (Wodka) Tasting 

I’ll give my review of each of the vodka’s in order of least favorite to most favorite. 

Sobieski Vanilla – I’m no fan of flavored vodkas, as my regular readers know.  I’ve had other vanilla vodkas, and to be honest, this one just wasn’t very good.  I’m sure it could be mixed with something that would make it worthwhile to drink, but I’d rather add vanilla extract if I want vanilla flavoring in my drink.  The taste was harsh and almost more coffee flavored than vanilla to me. 

Sobieski Citron – Pretty much the same story here.  Although this was better than the vanilla, I thought it was a bit harsh and not all that lemony.  Real lemon juice mixed with vodka tastes much better. 

Sobieski – This is the flagship of the Sobieski brand.  This vodka is an exceptional value!  At about $18 for a 1.75l bottle, it is cheaper by far than premium vodkas, yet compares very favorably.  It is very smooth, particularly when chilled.  This is good enough for a martini, and as I said, at half the price of the “premium” brands, you just can’t lose. 

Stawski Koneser – This is a slightly “premium” label for Sobieski.  Like Sobieski, it is distilled from Polish rye.  Just a bit smoother than the Sobieski, it was very pleasant to drink.  You may have a harder time finding it, but it’s definately worth the work. 

Debowa Oak Tree – OK, so I know, this is a flavored vodka.  The difference here is that its flavor is primarily derived from a sliver of oak that is placed in the bottle.  The oak combined with Black Elder flower makes for a delightful vodka to sip.  Smooth yet oakey (really?) I would drink this one neat. 

Polmos Extra Zytnia – This was the class of the bunch for me.  A high quality rye vodka with the very small addition of apple spirits, this was delicious, mellow and smooth.  This would be great with a twist or on the rocks with just a touch of cranberry.  Again, harder to find, but worth it. 

Mead Tasting 

Polish mead is a honey based liqueur that is aged between 1 and 6 years before aging.  Most meads also incorporate additional flavorings.  Not quite as sweet as krupnik, but very, very tasty nonetheless. 

Bernardynksi Royal Mead (4 years) – This mead has subtle cherry flavor with the honey.  I bit harsh on the aftertaste, this ranked fourth for me. 

Kurpiowski Polish Mead (5 years) – A lighter color than the Bernardynski, this mead spent 2 of its 5 years in oak barrels, contributing to its complexity.  Smoother, this was my third favorite. 

Lednick Mead (1 year) – Suprisingly dark and with little beyond the honey on the palate, this was very good.  I was suprised given that it had been aged only for 1 year, but the bright flavor really appealed to me. 

Jadwiga Miod Pitny (6 year) – The best of these meads, this compared very well to many of the better tawny ports that I’ve had.  Ideal for an after dinner drink, this had a deep amber color and was rich and mellow.  I really enjoyed this one and am looking to pick a bottle up. 

Well, there you have it, the final Polish Fest report.  I hope you can make it next year! 


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