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Zubrowka Vodka

Zubrowka Bison Grass
Flavored Vodka


By Robert Plotkin

The Poles during the Middle Ages hit on the idea that wódka might taste better if it had any taste whatsoever. So into their stills they began tossing in herbs, honey and numerous varieties of fruit, each with varying success. By the end of the 16th century, scores of flavored vodkas existed throughout Poland and Eastern Europe, among them Zmijowka, a notorious spirit steeped with poisonous adders. It never really caught on with Europeans, but Zubrówka Bison Grass Flavored Vodka thankfully did.

Made exclusively in and around the Bialowieza Forest on the Polish- Belarusian border, Zubrówka (pronounced zoo-BROV-ka) is a rye vodka distilled with the essential oils of hand-harvested bison grass. The prized, highly aromatic grass retains its fragrance long after being cut and grows wild only in a few glades within the forest preserve, whose secret locations are closely guarded by their landowners.

Long revered by enthusiasts and aficionados, Zubrówka is a tantalizing spirit with a greenish tint and an oily, medium-weight body. The bison grass imbues the vodka with an assertive herbal nose and a spicy, peppery and herbal palate similar to that of a fine silver tequila. The finish is flavorful with a crisp flinty edge. Every bottle contains a long, slender blade of grass.

Generations of Poles insist this traditional spirit increases virility, vitality and strength. They say even folks with no pulse will feel better after drinking Zubrówka. Still others contend that the bison grass gives the vodka aphrodisiac properties. Whatever the motivation, it's an 80-proof experience not to be missed.


Zubrówka Vodka Recipes

Black Pearl
Bucket glass, chilled
Build in glass
1/2 oz. agave syrup
4–5 blackberries
8–10 blueberries
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
Muddle contents and add ice
1 3/4 oz. Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka
3/4 oz. Chambord
3/4 oz. Creme de Cassis
1 oz. pink grapefruit juice
Splash Perrier
Lime wedge garnish
Bloody Bison Bloody Mary
Salt rimmed bucket glass, ice
Build in glass
1 1/2 oz. Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka
1/2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
3/4 oz. beef broth
Fill with Bloody Mary mix
Stir gently
Lime wedge and celery stalk garnish
Krakow Witch
Cocktail glass, chilled
Pour into an iced mixing glass
1 3/4 oz. Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka
3/4 oz. Liquore Strega
1 1/2 oz. lemon sour mix
Shake and strain
Lemon twist garnish