Monday, August 5, 2013

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.

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jaz@octoberfarm said...

that looks really good! are you making any currents into relishes like cranberry relish? i love it served with roast goose! i bet you can get fresh goose easily in warsaw!

Mary B said...

I did three fruit liqueurs this summer: raspberry, sour cherry and apricot. I use vodka, brandy and white port as a base. These need to sit longer and age about six months, so we'll be enjoying them at Christmas.

R. Samolot said...

You should drink Żubrówka now because is forbidden in USA by FDA. One of Żubrówka components is just poisonous. So they make different vodka under the Żubrówka brand in US.

Joy said...

@Joyce, Thanks, I'm not sure yet. And yes, goose and duck seem relatively easy to find here.

@Mary, those liqueurs sound really delicious! Serefe!

@R. Samolot, Yes, I heard the silly FDA has banned Żubrówka. We will definitely enjoy it here in Poland!

In case people want to know: Żubrówka was banned by the Food and Drug Administration because of a potentially toxic chemical that occurs naturally in the bison grass called coumarin.

In the US, you now can find a different version of this vodka sold under the name Żu.

BacktoBodrum said...

I used to make lots of flavoured vodkas in Turkey when vodka was $4 a bottle. Now it's so expensive I just stick to using it for herbal infusions. But I miss having a bottle of lemon vodka in the freezer.

Unknown said...

I'm on England what measure is a cupfull

Unknown said...