Around the World in 80 Drinks: Polish Vodka

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Happy Monday! To celebrate the beginning of this week, I’ve decided it’s time to launch a new series: Around the World in 80 Drinks! We’re not really going to drink 80 beverages: we’ll have far more than that! Not at the same time or anything…no, we would never do that. It’s just a name, you guys! Jeez. A clever play on the book. You know? The one about the guy, who does those things? Yes! THAT book. But I digress…

Around the World in 80 drinks will take us on a drunken whirlwind of adventure around our planet. Except it won’t really take us on an adventure. Blogs can’t do that: you need aeroplanes and autobuses and camels and all sorts of other types of transportation to actually go around the world. But we’ll go on the adventure – a drunken whirlwind of adventure, if you will – and then we’ll come back and tell you about it. And it won’t always be drunken, because sometimes we’ll talk about delicious non-alcoholic drinks. Wodka in Poland? Check. Bubble tea in Taiwan? Also check.

And you know what else? Now we can call ourselves food bloggers! Food AND travel bloggers! And with that, our fanciness factor just went up about 10 points! And I don’t care what you say: “Vodka isn’t a food,” you protest. To which I say, it IS if you add it to Jello. Argument solved.

Without further ado, I bring you the first installment of Around the World in 80 Drinks (which will be posted on whenever I remember or have something of value to say).

There are a lot of good things about Poland: Pierogies, salt mines, and Krakow, to name but a few. Plus the fact that people from Poland are called Poles, which is awesome. But today I want to focus on another great thing about Poland: the alcohol. We did ourselves some good drinking in Poland. But before I start on about that, I should probably point out what is probably the most awesomest word in the Polish language: Alkohole.


You’re an alko-hole!

I love it mostly because it works on so many levels: it sounds like an insult! It makes me think of going into a hole filled with booze. Is it a liquor shop? A bar? It’s an alkohole! It’s pretty much a linguistic superhero.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get back to the vodka. Or the Wodka, as the Poles like to say. We drank us some wodka in Poland.

This is quite possibly the worst photo of me ever taken. Ever.

Sometimes I get just slightly fixated on things I need to do in new countries. Like font walks and rock churches, for example. In Poland, I was fixated on vodka and salt mines (more on that coming up soon). In the days leading up to our arrival in Poland, our conversations often went back to me telling Geoff that we couldn’t NOT go to a vodka bar in Poland. It would be like living in Japan for a year and not visiting Tokyo or going to Peru and not seeing Machu Picchu (which, notably, I am guilty of on both counts).

And so I systematically researched and found us a vodka bar, and dragged Geoff on one of the grumpier walks we’ve had (probably even grumpier than the font walk) to the Qube bar. To be fair, Geoff had every right to be grumpy – it was near the end of a ridiculously busy 10 days of traveling from Budapest to Warsaw. Seriously, who the eff tries to pack a Budapest-to-Warsaw trip into 10 days? As the pictures can attest (notice the gigantic bags under our eyes), we were exhausted.

Qube bar was in the lobby of the Sheraton, and lacked even a single iota of ambiance. But what they lacked in atmosphere, they more than made up for in vodka!

Sadly, I don’t think we drank the babushka vodka

Geoff ordered a shot of honey flavored vodka, which is actually quite popular in Poland, and I worked my way through a grapefruit and espresso flavored shot (that’s two different shots, not a single grapefruit-espresso combo). The honey shot was sickeningly sweet, like the cough syrup of my childhood. Neither of us could finish it, and Geoff wisely decided to switch it up to beer.

Geoff to honey vodka: "You're gross!"
Geoff to honey vodka: “You’re gross!”

I had the grapefruit next, which was a vast improvement on the honey. And then the espresso, which was amazing.

Oh! I was wrong. THIS is the worst photo of me ever taken. Ever. But the vodka was delicious. And I don't even like vodka.
Oh! I was wrong. THIS is the worst photo of me ever taken. Ever. But the vodka was delicious. And I don’t even like vodka.

And then we decided we needed something with a little more ambience, and so we fought our way through the frigid Polish winter to the Jewish quarter, which is a vibrant district filled with amazing little cafes and bars, like Alchemia, a place where the price of our beers decreased every time we ordered, as the bartender got to know Geoff!

Alchemia in Krakow, Poland, makes you feel young and cool and awesome on the inside.
Alchemia in Krakow, Poland, makes you feel young and cool and awesome on the inside.

In the spirit of this new series, why not tell us about some of your favorite drinks or beverage-related experiences from abroad?



25 thoughts on “Around the World in 80 Drinks: Polish Vodka”

  1. Awesome! I love Polish vodka, went to a vodka bar in Poznan and had lemon vodka, they were delish!
    Really great idea for the series, will be following your journey :)

  2. I love your idea for this new series! I’m always looking for a good drink when I travel. Also, I can’t believe honey vodka was bad! It sounds so good in theory.

  3. What a fun post. I’m not a big drinker but I like your spirit with the spirits!
    And by the way, I loved the one day I spent in Vancouver many moons ago. Good place to settle I say.

  4. Hi Penny,

    Thanks for reading and thanks for leaving a comment! I wish I wasn’t a drinker – we sure would save money. But alas, I am destined to imbibe in the local spirits :)

  5. POLISH VODKA! Ohmygod I love it. I think I drank it every night I was in Poland. My favourite was a cherry flavoured shot I had in a bar in Gdansk. I stocked up in a supermarket too, as what we consider classy Polish brands back in the UK are like one-fifth of the price in Poland because they’re the norm. Some Polish friends in Wroclaw gave me a tip that it’s best with apple juice, and they were right. Mmmmmm!

    1. Doh! I never tried the cherry flavored vodka, nor did we make it to Gdansk…2 things to add to my never ending (in a good way) travel list. I don’t really love apple juice, so that may not work for me…perhaps substituting other juices in? I’m a sucker for grape juice :)

    1. Ha ha! Thanks Jo – encouraging words! I didn’t think I liked vodka before trying the stuff in Poland – it is much smoother and more drinkable than I had previously thought. Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

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  16. Great post! I really like visiting Poland, I usually go to Warsaw, because I have a family there. I am not the biggest vodka fan and I usually try to find some alternatives and drink something else instead. For example during my last trip we have discovered a great bar with champagnes called Bubbles. We had an amazing time drinking champagne and eating delicious food there. I would love to go back!

    1. Katie Matthews

      We definitely aren’t big vodka fans either….it was definitely a, ‘when in Poland’ kind of thing for us! Ha ha! We really didn’t get to spend enough time in Warsaw when we visited, but have really enjoyed every place we’ve been in Poland. Will have to go back and give Warsaw more time one day soon!

  17. Wow, I just love Polish vodka :) But I don’t find it as good in other countries, so maybe it is the magic of Poland that makes it taste so good:) Last time I have visited my friends in Warsaw few weeks ago and they have organized a “Polish day” knowing how much I like their food and culture. My favorite part of the day was of course traditional dinner with vodka. We went to a great restaurant called the Akademia and ordered all the Polish food with a companionship of a bottle of Polish vodka. Everything was incredibly delicious and the atmosphere of the restaurant was very unique – elegant but cozy at the same time. I can’t wait to go back :D

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