There's much more to Polish drink than just vodka! Historically mead and beer were first. Today all are important with the addition of local specialities like sliwowica (slivovitz). And there's the whole unexplored world of nalewkas!
Sliwowica (slivovitz) has long been recognized as a top achievement of Polish alcohol-making craft. It is a strong (about 70% vol. or 140 proof) plum brandy. High-quality Polish sliwowica is pleasant to the taste and has a delicate fruity aroma, despite its strength. When you take a little sip and close your eyes, you can almost see sunny plum orchards where the drink has its beginnings.
The history of Polish sliwowica goes back to the 17th century. How is a real sliwowica made?
The most important thing is that you get highest-quality plums. But all other things matter too: the variety of the fruit, soil, exposure to the sun, time of harvest, and finally the production process. No additional sugar or yeast are permitted, as they would disturb the desired final effect. Plums are crushed and fermented. Distillation usually takes place twice. Then sliwowica is matured, often in oak barrels. The drink then is slightly yellowish to amber in colour.
Now let's meet top brands of sliwowica.
The best Polish sliwowica (Polish slivovitz) is most probably Sliwowica Lacka (Lacka Slivovitz). It is produced in the neighbourhood of the town of Lack in southern Poland (hence the name). Sliwowica Lacka meets all criteria for a truly great sliwowica. It is a traditional product of the region. It has been officially recognized as part of local culture heritage. Sliwowica Lacka is made of the best variety of plum for brandy - sliwka wegierka. Only highest quality fruits are chosen. They are fermented for two months in oak barrels. Then sliwowica is matured.
The finished Sliwowica Lacka is really stunning. Delicate, fragrant while strong in alcohol at the same time of course. But before you rush to find a store which runs it, we have bad news for you. For some mysterious reasons it cannot be bought legally. Authorities treat it almost like as if it were plain moonshine. This is an extremely sad example of red tape choking private enterprise (and good fun). If Sliwowica Lacka is king of Polish sliwowicas then it is a king in exile, sort of.
But cheer up - here comes good news! You can buy and taste another great sliwowica: Sliwowica Paschalna or Passover Slivovitz. As the name implies, it is produced in accordance to kosher rules. There are absolutely no other ingredients then just plums added. Not even water. This sliwowica matures in oak barrels for at least 2 years. Passover Slivovitz is a highly regarded product.
But why a kosher sliwowica?, you might ask. It seems to be no coincidence, since Polish Jews has contributed to the tradition of this great drink. It is then perfectly natural that one of the best sliwowica is a kosher one.
How to say 'Sliwowica' in Polish? Click the green button below
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