So much begins with a meal...

Polish Cheery Wine
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!

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Polish Mead

Mead belongs to those Polish specialties which deserve much more attention than they currently get.

It was mead, together with beer, which was the earliest alcoholic drink known in Poland. It was used there as early as in the 10th century and even before. (Indeed, mead was one of the oldest alcoholic drinks in the history of human civilization.)

Polish Mead - "Poltorak" (oneandahalfer)
Polish Mead - "Poltorak" (oneandahalfer)
small bottle

Since wine was never a dominant produce among Polish-made drinks, mead was its local substitute to some extent.

Mead was very popular with Polish nobility up to about 15th or 16th century. After that time vodka became more common. One reason was that mead was much more expensive. Its consumption gradually decreased. It remained an important part of tradition and was used on special occasions. Today high-quality meads are easily available in Poland, but the drink is not frequently used. Outside Poland hardly anyone seems to know about its merits.

Polish Mead - "Trojniak" (triple)

Polish Mead - "Trojniak" (triple)
standard bottle

 

Mead is produced from honey. As a matter of fact in Polish the same word – “miod” - is used for both (mead is called “miod pitny” – “drinkable honey”). Honey is mixed with water and fermented. Sometimes the mixture (wort) is boiled before the fermentation. During the production process spices are added. Cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, pepper, juniper sometimes also hop and other spices are used. Mead is then matured. Depending on mead’s kind, maturation takes from 6 month to about 4 years. High-quality meads are delicate and have subtle bouquets.

Polish Mead - "Trojniak" (triple)
Polish Mead - "Trojniak" (triple)
standard bottle


An interesting thing about mead is that it can be drunk at different temperatures and it always displays its enticing qualities. Mead’s taste and aroma are very enjoyable at room temperature. So you can just open the bottle and drink. But if the weather’s hot, a better way may be to have your mead with ice cubes and slices of lemon. You get a refreshing, sweet drink. And finally, the most special way of serving this delicacy: heated mead! Heated mead tastes best when you add some spices to it. Clove and cinnamon are perfect for it. You can also add some bee honey. A real treat! Though of course most suitable for wintertime, heated mead will also be a delicious drink in other seasons.


A refreshing glass of Polish mead
A refreshing glass of Polish mead

There are a few types of Polish mead, depending on proportions of honey and water which are used during production:

  • Poltorak (“oneandahalfer”) – 1 part of mead is diluted with a half part of water. These meads are the strongest and are matured for the longest time.
  • Dwojniak (“double”) – 1 part of mead and 1 part of water. Poltoraks and Dwojniaks are often referred to as “royal meads” because of their superior quality.
  • Trojniak (“triple”) – 1 part mead and two parts of water. Perhaps the most popular mead. Less expensive than the “royal” ones and still quite good.
  • Czworniak (“quadruple”) – yes, you’ve guessed it – 1 part of mead and three parts of water. Somewhat less good than “Czworniak”.
  • And finally – Piatak (“quintuple”) – 1 part of mead and four parts of water of course – this kind is rarely seen in stores.

Now you know the basics about Polish mead. If you have never tasted it so far – it’s definitely time you did Smile
 


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