The Story of Polish Vodka

Visiting Poland and not having a taste of Polish vodka is like visiting Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. It simply doesn’t count 😉 This transparent liquid with high alcohol percentage has been a traditional element of parties and celebrations for centuries; the formula and the production process have been mastered to such a degree that vodka is now considered to be part of the Polish heritage. In 2018 it even got a museum of its own, where you can learn all about its history, the production process, as well as… have a taste of different varieties. The Polish Vodka Museum awaits visitors in Warsaw, on the right side of the Vistula river.

The site chosen for the museum is not random. It is located in one of the buildings of the former ‘Koneser’ vodka factory in Warsaw. The factory was built in the 19th century, but it flourished during the communist era, when vodka was exported on a mass scale to the western markets, even to the United States. Does the distinctive Wyborowa label ring a bell?

How is vodka made?

When you look at the transparent, crystal clear liquid, it is hard to believe that the basis for making it could be… cereals or potatoes! One of these products (or sometimes a combination of both in the right proportions) is ground and then fermented. However, the alcohol percentage in this semiproduct is very low, so the next step is distilling it. Distillation is how we can obtain spirit that contains almost 98% of alcohol. Later, distilled water is added to the alcohol and the liquid is bottled.

Naturally, this is a rough description of the process, but in the museum you can take a closer look at each step, as well as see professional distillation equipment.

The history of vodka

You may be surprised, but no matter how much we like to think that Poland is the homeland of vodka, distillation was actually invented by the Arabs, and brought to the territory of Poland through Spain in the early Middle Ages. For centuries, vodka was considered to be the cure for every possible kind of problem and illness. So, we had vodka for the state of melancholy, vodka to cure eye problems, vodka to warm you up, to cure the common cold or… even to cure liver problems. Depending on the purpose, different things were added to it - mainly herbs and plants, but sometimes even such unusual things as rooster meat. If you are eager to learn how to make these fantastic therapeutic mixtures, there's an entire wall covered in old recipes in the museum.

People used to have such a strong faith in the curing power of vodka that they commonly called it ‘aqua vita’, which is Latin for ‘water of life’. And 'aqua vita' is where the name of the most exclusive Polish vodka, Okowita, comes from.

Last but not least: vodka tasting

The museum visit ends with the most pleasant and exciting point - vodka tasting. It turns out that you can savour vodka, just like you savour French wine 😉 Three kinds of vodka are served, including the above-mentioned Okowita: made from rye, wheat and potatoes.


Design your own tour
Discover Poland the way that matches your traveling style. Budget or luxury travel, family friendly vacations, topic-focused sightseeing, activity-packed tours, you name it! The sky is the limit.
GET A FREE TOUR PLAN
You May Also Like
CONTACT
RealPoland sp. z o.o.
Grochowska 217/15, 04-077 Warsaw POLAND
[email protected]USA number: +1 347 670 40 74
AU number: +61 2 8006 5041
PL number: +48 603 348 000
ABOUT US
We are an inbound Poland Tour Operator, located in Poland, specializing in group and private tours. Our aim is to make your stay here an unforgettable experience. We are experts in organizing unique, custom-made Polish holidays, suiting your personal needs. Our team consists of natives, fascinated by their homeland, licensed guides and touring agents with huge knowledge and energy to share. We will do our best to meet your highest expectations.

SOCIAL MEDIA
NEWSLETTER
Latest information from Poland, travel tips, a bit of history, culture and Polish traditions.

    Your full name

    Your email

    Copyright © RealPoland
    linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram