Two things that I have in abundance right now are summer berries and Polish vodka.
The stalls at Hala Mirowska (the local farmer’s market) in Warsaw are flooded with red, white and black currants, strawberries, blueberries, green gooseberries, raspberries and cherries. I haven’t been doing as much baking as I should, but I have frozen tons of blueberries and made one batch of wild blueberry-ginger jam.
And thanks to the Poles, vodka – really good vodka – is cheaper than peanuts. A 1 liter bottle of Zubrovka vodka costs about 30 zl ($10 USD).
Since we like our summer drinks, I’ve been playing around with fruit-infused vodkas. In June, when rhubarb was plentiful, I made a batch of rhubarb-thyme vodka and one of rhubarb-strawberry-vanilla vodka. Both vodkas were super refreshing when mixed with tonic water and a splash of lime juice. (I meant to post the recipes, but now rhubarb season sadly is over.)
This weekend, I decided to experiment with red currants. I found dozens and dozens of recipes out there for red currant vodka. Some recipes called for the addition of simple syrup and others required waiting a month for the infusion.
I created my own recipe of sorts after looking around at other recipes. Since the red currants are tart, I muddled them with granulated sugar to kickstart the infusion process.
Now, comes the most difficult part – waiting two weeks until we can sample my red currant vodka!
Next on the summer berry list is making homemade crème de cassis from this recipe.
Smacznego! (Bon appétit in Polish)
Red Currant Polish Vodka
500 ml. Zubrovka vodka (or your vodka of choice)
200 g. (1 ¼ cups) red currants, rinsed and picked off the stems
100 g. (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
1. In a 1-liter cleaned and sterilized jar, combine the sugar and red currants. Muddle or mash together a bit.
2. Top with vodka.
3. Close the lid tightly and keep vodka in a dark, cool place for at least 2 weeks or until the color has left the red currants. Take the jar out and shake it every few days. After two weeks, you can start tasting the vodka to see if it is to your liking.
4. When the taste is to your liking, strain the vodka through cheesecloth or paper towels into a clean jar or bottle. You may need to strain twice to remove the berry sediment. You also can run the strained vodka through a coffee filter to produce a clearer vodka.
5. Now, you are ready to make a new cocktail with your red currant vodka, or you can steal some inspiration from the Absolut Kurant recipes.
6. I like to store my fruit-infused vodka in the refrigerator.