Polish liqueurs called ‘nalewka‘ (singular) or ‘nalewki‘ (plural) in original, are alcoholic extracts from fruit, spices, flowers or herbs. Usually Polish nalewka contains 40-45 per cent of alcohol just like vodka does. However, according to many Polish people nalewka tastes much better and is equally popular both amongst men, as well as women. Fruit liqueurs are always drunk from little glasses and often served as an addition to spicy meals or dinners. The old Polish tradition claims that medium-dry and semi-sweet fruit liqueurs nalewka should be served with meat dishes, while sweet nalewka is a dessert alcohol.
A whole range of liqueurs made of different ingredients exists. Fruit liqueurs are most popular (morello cherry, apricot, blackberries and the quince liqueur are important examples). Another popular kind is honey liqueurs. Quite specific liqueurs made of spices has following Polish names: ‘kardamonka‘ (cardamom), ‘krambambula‘ (honey + cinnamon + pepper + other spices) or ‘imbirówka‘ (ginger). Herbal liqueurs are also known, as well as other, even more original liqueur as ‘kukułka‘ (made of Polish candies having the same name), or one made from the juice and flowers of the schlock.
There’s as many recipes for Polish liqueurs as many liqueur exists. Generally speaking fruit liqueurs (most popular) are being prepared by pouring the spirit over fruits. Instead of the spirit one might use vodka – the nalewka will be milder, containing 20-25% of ethanol. During 6 weeks taste, color, essence and nutrients are being extracted from fruits to alcohol. Then we pour this alcoholic extract into another dish, and we add sirup (saturated sugar solution) over the remaining fruits. One must wait a few consecutive weeks, and then the sirup from above the fruits and the alcoholic liqueur are being combined. For emphasizing liqueur’s fruit taste, oftentimes a fruit juice and lemon peel are added. Sometimes fruit liqueurs are flavored with vanilla, cardamom, nutmeg, angelica, cloves, cinnamon or the allspice.
More refined nalewkas are always sold in smaller bottles, just like Nalewka Staropolska which appears in many fruit tastes among which cherry is the most common. This product costs $13-14 per 0.2 L bottle, which is quite a high price. You can find a little bit cheaper, though still refined nalewkas. Those from Kredens company are worth mentioning not only because of a great appearance. Kredens nalewkas cost $7-8 per 0.2 L bottle. Last but not least – Nalewkas by Z. Kozuba and Synowie are exquisite alcohols sold in art deco style, diamond-like crystal carafes. Cost per 0.7 bottle is about $50.
Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)