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Bak's Bison Grass Zubrowka Vodka

Bak's Bison Grass
Zubrówka Vodka


By Robert Plotkin

There is an abundance of flavored vodkas on the market. If you're a consumer with discriminating taste who has yet found a brand of flavored vodka to absolutely swoon over, be fully prepared to swoon. Bak's Bison Grass Zubrówka Vodka is delicious, sophisticated and perfectly in-step with contemporary tastes.

Long revered by enthusiasts and aficionados alike, Zubrówka (pronounced zoo-BROV-ka) is a traditional Polish vodka flavored with bison grass, which is indigenous exclusively to Eastern Poland. The hand-harvested grass grows wild only in glades within a few forest preserves, their exact locations are closely guarded secrets. Bison grass retains its wafting aromatics long after being cut. The grass is said to give one vitality and strength. Others insist that it possesses aphrodisiac properties. Whatever the motivation for drinking it, this vodka is an experience not to be missed.

Bak's Bison Grass Vodka is produced at the Polmos Bialystok Distillery, which is located in northwest Poland. It is triple-distilled in column stills from potatoes and artesian well water and then infused with bison grass essential oils. The vodka is filtered through charcoal and oak chips before being bottled at 41% alcohol by volume (82 proof). As is customary, every bottle contains a long, slender blade of bison grass.

Guaranteed, there is nothing behind your bar remotely like Zubrówka. The vodka has a pale yellow/green hue, a slightly oily body and an enticing bouquet of vanilla, honey, clover and zesty citrus. Its velvety body and beckoning aromatics are exactly what aficionados adore so much about Polish potato vodka. The palate is loaded with spicy cinnamon, citrus, herbal and nutty flavors. As if to seal the deal, the flavors persist long into an eminently satisfying, nut and pepper finish. Flavored vodka just doesn't get better than this.

So where has Zubrówka been all of your life? Until 1999, the Polish superstar was not permitted into the United States. Bison grass contains trace amounts of a chemical compound called coumarin. In any case, worry not, Bak's Zubrówka is coumarin-free and now available nationally.

Bak's is a genuine treat served neat or with a slight chill. Zubrówka is also traditionally mixed with apple cider in a drink called the Tatanka. As far as contemporary drink-making goes, Bak's has so much character that featuring it in creative cocktails is almost too easy.