All this Greenpointers talk of hot toddies reminded me of one of my favorite ways to warm up during freezing Polish winters – krupnik na gorąco (KROOP-neek na go-RON-tso, or hot krupnik).
Krupnik is a traditional Polish drink that can be found in several formats: honey; lemon; and plain vodka. For this recipe, it is important to use the honey-hued old krupnik, which is clearly labeled “Polish Honey Liqueur” on the bottle.
The recipe for krupnik na gorąco varies from place to place, but the basic one involves krupnik , hot water, cinnamon, and a slice of orange.
-1 shot old krupnik (be sure to buy the honey-hued old krupnik that says Polish honey vodka, NOT the cloudy, lemon-flavored krupnik cytrynowa or plain krupnik vodka)
-2 shots hot water
-1 slice orange
-dusting of ground cinnamon
Pour the ingredients into a mug, mix, and serve.
There are plenty of ways to modify the recipe to your liking. Some places keep it simple and serve krupnik with hot water, which would do in a pinch but is not recommended. If the drink is somehow still too bitter for your taste, mix in a dollop of honey to sweeten things up. Cloves, cinnamon sticks, and other wintry spices can also be added.
Try things out and see what works for you. At about $12.99 a bottle, it’s not too costly to experiment. If you find any winning combinations, feel free to share them in the comments section.
If you’d rather not mess with a perfectly tasty liqueur, old krupnik served neat makes an excellent digestif.
Another popular hot beverage Poles enjoy in the colder months is grzane piwo (GZHA-neh PEE-vo, or hot beer). It’s not as bad as it sounds – throw in a few spices and a bit of ginger syrup, and it somehow comes together. Watch this space for some tasty grzane piwo recipes.