All you need in winter is… beer! How come, you say? Beer is cold and refreshing and perfect in summer! Well, it is, indeed, but as the Polish apparently can’t live without their beer and winter can get pretty cold there, they drink hot beer. We have mulled wine too but I thought hot beer would be something more extraordinary to write about. I found several different recipes for ‘Polish’ mulled wine – Grzaniec on the Internet (I think it is pretty similar to e.g. German Glühwein, though). Likewise, there are a few approaches to preparing hot beer that differ according to individual preferences.
Some recipes suggest using lager whereas others are in favor of using dark beer. Some people advise adding an egg or a yolk and others find it disgusting and suggest substituting it with some strong sweet liquor like the exquisite Wódka Żołądkowa Gorzka. However, generally hot beer is prepared in a way very similar to mulled wine. It should be heated (but never boiled!) with various spices like cinnamon, clove, ginger etc. and orange and/or lemon slices as well as brown sugar or liquid honey. Regarding amounts of particular ingredients there are probably as many recipes as there are enthusiasts of hot beer. If you are ever in Poland you can try hot beer in almost every pub (or other place serving ordinary beer). The only disadvantage of hot beer, in my opinion, is the fact that if you drink it from a big 0,5 l mug it tends to get cold by the time you finish. And cold hot beer is not tasty at all.
Another Polish winter concoction is especially popular among skiers. There’s no better après-ski in a cozy mountain cottage than tea laced with rum, in Poland sometimes also referred to as ‘tea with (electric) current’ (hence the tea unPLUGGED in the title).
My personal favorite, however, is honey vodka (Krupnik) I already mentioned in my article on travelling in Poland. It is easy to enjoy (meaning no preparation needed) and one of few vodka sorts you can enjoy on its own and I mean really enjoy – not gulp down like a shot but slowly taste every sip. It will leave you with a wonderful honey taste in your mouth and very warm inside. A large (and still growing) community of fans among my international friends can’t be wrong (I had numerous ‘orders’ every time I was going home) 🙂 . You’ve got to try it!