When most people think of Poland, they probably don’t think of vodka. For the most part, vodka is associated with Russia, and rightfully so. The cliché about Russian vodka drinkers goes back a long way. But what you may not know is that Poland has an equally interesting history with vodka.
Vodka is a big part of Polish culture, and it was even used as a medicine to treat ailments a long time ago. Today, it is still a fairly popular spirit and many bars in Poland offer a fairly robust vodka selection.
Since we are by no means vodka experts, we decided to do a tour to learn about vodka’s history in Poland and try some of the best Polish vodkas. We did a Warsaw vodka tasting with Xperience Poland and can’t recommend it enough. Read on about our experience below.
Warsaw Vodka Tasting with Xperience Poland
Warsaw is the perfect Polish city to do a vodka tasting. The nightlife scene is awesome, and it’s just a really fun experience. That being said, we were glad that we signed up to do an organized tasting so that someone who knows all about Warsaw and Polish vodka could show us the ropes.
There are a couple different types of Polish vodka tastings that Xperience Poland offers. Some go to different bars, and some tastings are offered in other Polish cities. We did the tour in Warsaw, but similar variations of the tour are also offered in Gdansk, Krakow, and Wroclaw.
The details on our Warsaw Vodka Tasting tour is below:
- Location: Warsaw
- Venue: LOKO
- Duration: Approximately 1 hour
- Vodka Included (6 Polish Vodka Shots)
- Snacks Included (Various breads and meats)
7 Best Polish Vodkas to Try
Based on the 6 vodkas that we got to try on our tour (actually, 7 shots! For our last shot, Jack tried one type and I tried another), Polish vodka is absolutely delicious. Some of the vodkas are made from wheat, others from rye, and even potato! Actually, we found the potato vodka to be the best since it was so smooth.
These are the 7 vodkas that we tried on our tour:
This was our first vodka of the night and it is made from rye. It tasted a little harsh at first, but the aftertaste is kind of sweet. Our host told us that this one is popular with people because the the sweet aftertaste can mask the initial harsh taste. Even a “harsh” vodka by Polish standards is still quite good!
Made from wheat, this vodka tasted a bit more harsh up front but was smoother on the back end. It wasn’t as sweet as the first one, and it didn’t stand out as being particularly good or bad. Since it didn’t really leave an impression us on, it’s worthy of a great quote from our host: “A vodka that is made for everybody, is made for nobody.”
3. J.A. Baczewski
This vodka is potato-based. To quote our host again: “The best thing to come from potatoes is vodka, not french fries.” It’s true! This was the smoothest vodka we tried in our opinion. It doesn’t have the same sweetness as the first two vodkas, but it makes up for it by being incredibly smooth. This is a vodka you can’t go wrong with!
This was our first flavored vodka of the night. It was only 30 percent alcohol, and that paired with the yummy peppermint flavor made it one of our favorites. This one seemed like it would be a good vodka to keep in a flask for a cold winter day. The brand Żołądkowa also makes a few other flavored vodkas that we didn’t have a chance to try.
We had seen this vodka bottle behind bars in Poland before, so we were excited to try it for ourselves. The bottle is distinct because it has a picture of a bison and some grass on it. It has a very earthy taste from the bison grass added to the bottle so the flavor isn’t for everybody. Given how unique it is, it should still be on your list of Polish vodkas to try.
This one was stronger than its peppermint counterpart and was sweetened with honey and had a faint taste of licorice too. Jack liked this one more than I did so we were happy to switch.
While Jack said this shot tasted like cherry cough syrup, I thought it tasted yummy and sweet. If you like sweet liquors and girly drinks (like me!) then you’ll definitely like this one.
The vodka tasting in Warsaw, Poland was an awesome experience. We got to try a bunch of really great vodkas that we would never have tried otherwise. We loved having a host to tell us about the history of Polish vodka and its role in modern culture. Plus, it’s always a treat having your drinks picked out for you. With all the different types of Polish vodka available it can be difficult to pick and choose!
The best part of Xperience Poland, aside from all the vodka, was having a host who was kind, courteous, and knowledgable. Plus our fellow vodka-enthusiasts were all very friendly which made the experience all the more enjoyable.
Don’t forget to check out our other posts from Poland:
- The Ultimate Travel Guide to Poznań, Poland
- 11 Best Things To Do in Poznań, Poland
- The Foodie’s Guide to Wroclaw, Poland: Best Restaurants & Polish Foods To Try
- 11 Best Things To Do in Wrocław, Poland
- 13 Incredible Restaurants in Poznań, Poland
- 7 Polish Vodkas To Try (Vodka Tasting in Warsaw, Poland)