Ask The Bartender: Slivovitz by Maggie Dutton Seattle Weekly, WA 10/1/08
Each week we answer all those burning questions that you've always wanted to know the answer to, but then get too drunk (or shy) and forget to ask. From Stephanie:
My grandfather used to drink something called Slivovitch which he called plum brandy, but I've tried a few fruit brandies and can't ever get anything like it. It's not sweet enough. Can I make an infusion at home with ripe plums, and I was thinking of adding pears for sweetness.
Weird, we all must have plums on the brain, just picked 10 pounds from my backyard. Slivovitz is a certain kind of plum brandy, manufactured mainly in Eastern Europe. It's very popular around holidays in American with the Jewish (a few are certified kosher) and Polish communities. It depends on what fruit brandies you tried. Maraska is the most common Slivovitz. Anything along the lines of Clear Creek is going to be closer to grappa, and anything labeled as a fruit brandy is likelier to taste like flavored syrup with alcohol. Although some cheap versions of Slivovitz fare no better.
But Slivovitz is more than brandy made from plums, the kernals of the plum are also ground and used in distillation. This gives Slivovitz an almond aroma and flavor, not nearly intense as amaretto, but it adds to the perception of sweetness in it and a really pleasing aroma. I'm guessing this is what you remember.
Of course you can make a Slivovitz, a version anyway. And of course you can use any fruit you like. Now is the time, though, if you want to make a homemade version with plums. Get a base brandy from the liquor store, like Christian Brothers, and add a pound of macerated plums (preferably Italian) per one liter of brandy. Let it sit for a week or two until you get the flavor you want. Strain the mixture through fine mesh and then a coffee filter; you want to get all the fruit out. If you want to add a little almond flavor, add a few drops of extract (Neilson & Massey's is best). You can also add almond syrup if you want to sweeten your Slivovitz. Start with small amounts, though; the almond flavor will increase over time.
I'd keep my Slivovitz-esque liqueur in the freezer and serve it in shot glasses with a slice of citru or mix it with sparkling wine.
Authentic Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka Awarded Gold in Prestigious International Review of Spirits Competition
Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka has received a Gold Medal for "Exceptional" taste in the flavored vodka category of the 2008 International Review of Spirits competition, conducted by the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) in Chicago. Announcing its U.S. launch last year, Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka is the authentic Polish bison grass-flavored vodka owned by Polmos Bialystok. The 400-year-old spirit derives its unique flavor from an extract of bison grass, a rare aromatic herb grass that grows exclusively in the last remaining primeval forest in Europe.
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) December 8, 2008 -- Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka has received a Gold Medal for "Exceptional" taste in the flavored vodka category of the 2008 International Review of Spirits competition, conducted by the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) in Chicago. Announcing its U.S. launch last year, Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka is the authentic Polish bison grass-flavored vodka owned by Polmos Bialystok. The 400-year-old spirit derives its unique flavor from an extract of bison grass, a rare aromatic herb grass that grows exclusively in the last remaining primeval forest in Europe.
"Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka is the true genuine brand of bison grass-flavored vodka, and we are seeing its international popularity apparent in the U.S. among consumers and spirits experts," said Jimmy Todd, VP of Sales, Marsalle Company. "Polmos Bialystok is the only distillery in Poland authorized to produce the iconic bison grass vodka, and those who taste the authentic Zubrówka realize its delicate flavor and distinctive aroma cannot be imitated." Chicago-based Marsalle Company is the exclusive importer and distributor of Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka in the U.S.
The International Review of Spirits is the largest and most prestigious annual spirits competition in the United States. The blind tasting competition is judged by the Beverage Testing Institute in its dedicated tasting lab in Chicago, using a proprietary tasting methodology that assures consistent results, scoring products based on a 100-point scale. Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka received an "Exceptional" score of 92 with BTI noting its authentic "grass character."
Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka made its U.S. debut in Chicago, Washington D.C. and the New York metropolitan area, including New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut. It is also now available in areas of California, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Tennessee and Texas. Priced at $24.99 per 750ml. bottle, Zubrówka holds a signature blade of bison grass to keep its subtle flavor fresh.
Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka originated in the early 14th century as a local specialty from the Bialowieza forest region, which today is Europe's last remaining primeval forest, relatively untouched by civilization and pollution. The secretive Bialowieza Forest, located deep in northeastern Poland, remains home to the largest population of European bison, and the storied, aromatic bison grass on which the herd of 400 feeds. Bison grass cannot be grown artificially, and production of authentic Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka has remained unchanged for centuries.
We missed you. Did you have problems with the Net or just rested your hand?
To some extent i was resting my hand but as well as was a bit down and worried about not having a job and not being able to support my family even though my wife works we need both incomes.I found it hard to concentrate but i always had a quick peek to see how things were going.Now i have a new job and things are very busy some days i work 12 hours in one day,but i am now trying to find more me time may still require another change of company.
Last Edit: Dec 15, 2008 22:22:53 GMT 1 by franciszek
thanks for translation yes he has grown and he has found his voice he cannot stop talking at the moment he would repeat Polish words if you spoke it to him but we will stick to english for the time being.
Brand: Sobieski vodka Headquarters: Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Product: Premium Polish vodka U.S. launch date: 2007 Sales: 200,000 cases in the U.S. in its first year Target demo: Vodka drinkers of any age (well, over 21, of course) Competition: All vodka brands regardless of price, from $10 to $50 Distribution: In all 50 states Claims: "Consumers don't have to pay a king's ransom to get superb vodka." Secret weapon: $10.99 price tag New product: Flavored vodkas Sorry, Russia. Vodka originated in Poland. That's just one sobering fact people learned from Sobieski's "Truth in Vodka" advertising campaign. The effort originally launched in the U.S. a little over one year ago to introduce the nice-priced premium spirit to the trade market.
And, apparently, it worked. Even though the vodka shelf is saturated with brands running the price gamut from cheap to steep and new SKUs seem to debut daily, Sobieski has had the most successful liquor launch in the U.S., with sales of 200,000 cases even before one year was up.
Created by New York advertising agency Meter Industries, the "Truth" work pointed out that paying through the nose for what's in the bottle is pointless. Rather than ante up a $40-50 premium to support marketing gimmicks and notice-me packaging, Sobieski slyly suggested that shoppers focus on a bottle's contents, which in its case is Poland's No. 1 premium vodka and one of the fastest-growing international spirits. Sobieski, incidentally, sells for $10.99 per 750 ml bottle because the price isn't inflated by these irrelevant marketing expenditures. "We designed a bottle to suit the spirit inside," one Sobieski ad reads. "Notice the lack of la-di-da."
Another tackles a silly competitor claim that sounds meaningful, but isn't. "Distilled 5x, 8x, 39x. Stop the madness. How about distilled enough," that execution reads.
"Eight times distilled—it doesn't mean anything!" said Timo Sutinen, vp, marketing and business development at Imperial Brands, the exclusive importer of Sobieski and a subsidiary of Belvedere S.A. (which used to own Belvédère Vodka, but doesn't anymore). "Distilleries like ours use a continuous distillation system, and that's much more important than how many times it's distilled. While it's not a lie, we wanted to break these myths and tell people what matters in vodka."
Mainly, that's flavor, or lack of it, depending upon one's personal taste. Americans prefer a vodka that blends well with mixers and doesn't leave a hangover, Sutinen said, while European drinkers tend to appreciate vodkas with more character.
Sobieski, which is known for being smooth yet flavorful, is produced from Dankowski rye at a Polish distillery that was established in 1846. "This is not two guys from Ohio coming up with new vodka," he said, scoffing at the marketing claims of the vodka du jour. "Nothing against Ohio, but our folks have been making vodka for hundreds of years so they know what they're doing."
As if to prove its no-frills point, the brand chased its cheeky back-to-basics campaign by scoring best on some key taste-tests: French wine and spirits publication La Revue du Vin de France ranked it the No. 1 vodka out of 25 different brands, including Grey Goose, Absolut and Stolichnaya.
The initial "Truth" in vodka marketing effort included print, outdoor, digital ads and a publicity outreach. The latter led to a story in the New York Times, which caught the attention of a Madison Square Garden executive who was intrigued by the little-known brand's bravado. He called up Sutinen, and in March, Sobieski became the official vodka of Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall in a multiyear partnership.
Due to its success among the beverage trade media and its resulting national distribution, "Truth" was extended to a $4 million consumer marketing campaign this past summer.
In the first half of 2009, Sobieski will roll out its first flavored vodkas along with additional "Truth" executions. There's no reason to shift gears because many Americans still need to hear about the brand, Sutinen argues. Plus, he thinks the concept will remain timely and effective as long as hyperbole is alive and well in alcohol ads.
"Whenever a new vodka brand comes out, it just gives us more material to talk about 'Truth' because, frankly, many brands are bullshitting you," Sutinen said. "It just gives us another chance to tell people how things really are."
I will explain, but first I must ask one question - by non-drinker do you mean that you do not drink hard alcohol, just beer and wine?
Exactly. ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D The whisky which you could see in pictures has been waiting for my wife`s cousin for years.
Drink: Blender Drinks - drinks made using one of these: Example: a frozen margarita (a good use of tequila, I say)
Very exotic. I never did such a thing in my life. What is actually blended in it? Fruit?
Drink: Mixed Drinks Hard alcohol (liquor/spirits) plus a mixer of some kind; also referred to as a c0cktail, but I think purists would say their is a difference (has to do with the other additives, I think).
Here we call it dad and mum - spirit with water.
Drink: White Zin Abbreviation for White Zinfandel, a type of rosé wine
What kind of wine is it? Popular or exclusive?
Drink: Shots Abbreviation for a shot glass of liquor(s); sometimes called a "shooter".
It is not mixed or blended? Just pure alcohol of one sort?
I think that's right, anyway. I'm not a big drinker, so it is kind of funny that I am explaining this.
Very exotic. I never did such a thing in my life. What is actually blended in it? Fruit?
Sometimes they have fresh fruit (I like those the best). They are great with Mexican food, which you probably do not have very often. You might like a dish like steak fajitas, though. Anyway, it has been a long time since I had a margarita.
Strawberry Margarita Ingredients: - 1 1/2 oz silver tequila - 1/2 oz triple sec - juice of half lime - 2 strawberries Garnish: strawberry
Mix all ingredients with 4 to 5 ice cubes until smooth. Pour into a margarita glass. Garnish with a strawberry on the rim.
You can also get a margarita served on the rocks (on ice) vs. blended. The tequila taste can be a lot stronger with those.
It is not mixed or blended? Just pure alcohol of one sort?
There are a lot of different kinds of shots. Some are just one type of alcohol, others contain several (mixed shots).
They are served in a shot glass and are meant to be consumed quickly - as in all in one shot, no sipping! Many of the mixed shots have funny or provocative names. Some (such as those served at bachelorette parties, for example), "require" a certain method of drinking them. It's a bit embarrassing.
Gig, I am catching the drift on most of the things you have explained and thank you for that. However, it is amazing that people go to such pains to get inebriated. All those mixtures, decorations, blends etc are very funny, as if people needed to make a nasty habit look more exalted than it is in reality. It is like decorating a nasty TV set with figures, mascots, pots etc.
I am a traditionalist and simpleton: I drink my home-made cherry wine because my doctor advised me to consume a lot of cherry stuff. So I do. I pour a glass and drink it in the evening. That`s all.
How a New Vodka Brand Set a Sales Milestone Thursday, 12 Mar 2009 Christina Cheddar Berk CNBC
It's what marketers strive for: to have their message fit the times.
Long before the first economists began forecasting a recession, and the markets spiraled downward, Sobieski Vodka launched their "Truth in Vodka" campaign, with the pitch that consumers don't have to pay a "king's ransom" to drink a quality vodka.
The message apparently has struck a chord.
According to Impact, a spirits trade magazine, Sobieski has hit the 255,000-case sales milestone faster than any other newly introduced spirits brand.
Industry trends continue to be favorable for Sobieski. Recent figures from industry trade group the Distilled Spirits Council have shown that sales of super-premium vodkas are slipping, while premium-priced vodka sales continue to rise.
"I think that consumers are trading some of that image-badge mentality with the reality that their wallets may not be in the same shape," says Chester Brandes, president and chief executive of Imperial Brands, the Belvedere unit that imports of Sobieski vodka from Poland.
"By accident, we've caught a wave," Brandes says of the company's advertising.
Brandes says consumers are trading down, but doing it with care. He notes, for example, that consumers aren't simply selecting the vodkas at the lowest price point. Growth at the low end was marginal.
"I think that's somewhat telling....Consumer s are not prepared to overspend," he says.
Still, he doesn't expect to see consumers skimp on certain luxuries.
"I think alcohol is one of the last luxuries consumers are going to give up," Brandes says.