Zubrowka Bison Grass Polish Vodka (750ml)
*Superb/Highly Recommended; One of Top 50 Spirits of 2009* Smells nicely of sweet grass, paraffin, acetate and wheat crackers; aeration bolsters the aromatic impressions of the first round and adds a subtle spiciness (nutmeg?) that complements the grassy quality. Palate entry teems with zesty, spicy, medicinal and grassy flavors; midpalate flavors come off chocolaty and milky, with disparate background tastes of egg cream and green pepper.
At the restaurant where I worked as a student in London, the friendly Polish chef would share his bimonthly care packages from home with us waiters. Dark, sweet, homemade breads; spicy cured sausage; and a bottle of pale-gold, fragrant vodka: Zubrowka. Its color and delicate vanilla-chamomile flavor come from the blade of Bison Grass (an aromatic European botanical) infused in each bottle. Drinking late after the shift, we'd have shots from the chilled bottle to wash down our evening meal. On a rare evening off, we'd mix long glasses with cloudy pressed apple juice (known as tatanka), sometimes mixing in a citrus-infused or honey vodka, relishing the sweet cinnamon notes of the Bison Grass. Variants on this cocktail are enjoyed nightly around the bars and restaurants of London and beyond, wherever folks are sharing out their care packages and drinking to Poland. Now Zubrowka is available in California, and Tatanka is the party cocktail of choice with friends. (Susan Thornett, K & L Wine Merchants) *Tatanka* 2 oz Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka ½ oz honey-infused vodka 2 ½ oz unfiltered apple juice Serve long over ice, garnished with fresh lime