Polish Language Blog

When life gives you lemons…make this Polish Lemon Liqueur! Posted by on Feb 28, 2020 in Culture

Most of us know this old saying “When life gives you lemons, use them to make lemonade”. Obviously, this quote is used to encourage optimism in the face of adversity. Lemons are sour and represent life’s challenges, whereas a lemonade is sweet and represents facing life’s challenges and turning them into something positive. In other words, turning negativity into positivity.

So what to do with all these lemons in Poland??? Make Cytrynówka – a very popular Polish Lemon Liqueur.


Image courtesy my friend Agnieszka Grochowska

There are many recipes, they may all be slightly different, but pretty much all of them use similar or almost the same ingredients. A lot of people make cytrynówka at home, but it is also available at the bars and restaurants. You would need lemons (cytryny), spirytus (it’s about 70-95% alcohol), sugar (cukier), water (woda) and vodka (wódka – of course should be Polish 😉). Some recipes call for honey instead of sugar, or ask to use both.


It’s a like magic elixir! It has amazing taste, mostly due to the fact that you don’t really taste alcohol in it…but believe me, it’s really strong.  It’s refreshing and delicious. It doesn’t give you a hangover due to the lemons and honey/sugar. The lemons replenish your electrolytes while the honey helps absorb the nutrients into your body. It also really helps when you feel the flu is attacking you: just have 1-2 shots and the virus will be gone! The lemons, obviously, have lots of good vitamins, spirytus/vodka is nature’s disinfectant. What else can you ask for?

Here are few images my friend, Agnieszka Grochowska, took while making her own amazing cytrynówka!

Cytrynówka can be cooled in the refrigerator…or outside!


You can find a lot of recipes for Cytrynówka online, or you can try to get a copy of “Wielka księga nalewek” (Big book of tinctures), which is usually available on Amazon. Then you will be able to make all kinds of different Polish traditional liquors!


I would love for you to share your own recipes for this amazing elixir!

Na zdrowie!

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.



    Where is the recipe???