Zubrowka

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marek_wodka

Robert Matczak, Marek Ciesielski (with Zubrowka), Karol Waszak, Marcin Witasiak. Photo BTWT

Zubrowka is the queen of Polish vodaks. The recipie dates back to the 16th century, and by 18th century Zubrowka was one of the favourite raw drinks of the Polish nobility. In 1926 the Polmos company in Brzesc Litewski, Poland – now Belalco (Brest) Belarus – came up with a way to mass produce Zubrowka. The original distillery in Brest, Belarus, still produces Brestskaya Zubrovka while the grass inside a bottle is the registered trademark of the Polmos Bialystok company in Poland.

Zubrowka is rye distilled wodka 40% (ABV) alcohol. It contains an extract from Hierochloe odorata (Bison Grass) which grows in the Bialowieza Forest, which is partly in Poland and partly in Belarus. The Bialowieza Forest is famous for the 600 mm gauge Bialowieza Forest Railway which is the home of HF class, Tx-1112, until recently the last working ‘Feldbahn‘ steam locomotive in Poland. In the USA, Coumarin, the active ingredient in Bison Grass is prohibited as a food additive by the Food and Drug Administration. Polmos produces a bowdlerised version of Zubrowka called ‘Bison Grass Vodka’ containing artificial flavourings and colourings specially for the American market.

In our picture Marek Ciesielski holds a bottle of Zubrowka. BTWT readers will recall that Marek’s prize from our last competition was half a bottle of Zubrowka. (He only got half the questions right.) The team of SKPL managers in the picture gamely volunteered to help Dyspozytor ensure that Marek did not consume more than his 50% share. He reports that he and the the volunteers carried out their responsibilities with great enthusiasm and even exceeded their quota!

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