“Poland … don’t you mean Russia?” you might be thinking, but then, you’re probably not familiar with the former’s stake in the story. Indeed, the earliest known document to make reference to the Absolut (ahem) gem of a spirit was found in the Polish town of Sandomierz back in 1404 - long before Russia patented its charcoal-filtered alcoholic beverage in 1894.
Either way, Poland is part of the EU’s Vodka Belt - a group of countries producing over 70% of Europe’s vodka. It is no wonder, therefore, that some of the world’s best vodka experiences can be found here:
- Learn all about vodka
Housed in a former distillery, the Polish Vodka Museum is one of the few in the world to display its elaborate exhibition in a place that used to make the stuff, and you don’t get more authentic than that! Taking you through the 600-year history of vodka production in Poland via thousands of artifacts, it may have only opened its doors a few years ago but it remains unrivaled in terms of scale. What’s more, it’s located on one of the oldest streets in Warsaw, which is also home to some very cool bars, meaning you can certainly get your vodka fix afterward (although there is also a vodka tasting at the end of your visit, so make sure to pace yourself!).
2. Do a vodka shot bar crawl
There are a number of great spots packed with lots of bars for you to drink with the locals in. Pawilony in Warsaw is one; the Old Town is another.
3. Do a vodka drinking tour
Ok, a bit similar to the above but this time you’re with an expert guide who will take you on an official tour of the country’s best bars, giving you a good understanding (and taste!) over the several bars you’ll visit - paired with a number of food tastings to help line your stomach! There are vodka tours available all over the country - enough for every day of the week!
4. Do The Polish Vodka Experience
Similar to the above again, but this time you don’t have to move - meaning you can get as wobbly on your feet as you like (within reason, obviously!). Spend an evening in a Polish pub and enjoy seven of the best vodkas the country has to offer - five suggested by the guide and the final two left for you to pick! There’s everything from traditional to spiced; herbal to salted caramel flavor! Polish tapas-style snacks will be on-hand throughout the night to help soak up the alcohol and the bartender will give you a mini-cocktail making masterclass at the end with one of the vodkas you’ve sampled. The experience ends with a vodka pub quiz with - yup, you’ve guessed it - some of the cocktails to give out as prizes!
The guides are uber passionate about all things vodka (and Kraków, where the experience is held), so feel free to ask them all your burning questions about the must-dos (and drinks!) for the remainder of your time here! Their answers could make the difference between an average trip to Poland and the best-ever - filled with some of the finest vodka the world has to offer.