The Polish pastime of making flavored vodkas has caught on in our home in a big way. There aren’t many fruits in season now, so I made Krupnik, a vodka sweetened with honey and infused with spices.
Krupnik originated in the area that is now Belarus in the 1600s, it was then part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Legend has it Krupnik may have first been made at a Benedictine Monastery in Niasviz. This distant cousin of mead or miodowka has endless variations, with the taste changing based on the variety of honey used and the spices and or herbs added. Another Krupnik recipe in the book uses, orange zest, nutmeg, and a bit of strong coffee, in addition to the honey, vodka, allspice, vanilla pod, clove, and cinnamon.
The honey flavored liqueur can be served at room temperature, chilled, or heated. My recipe, which I’ve translated from Wielka Ksiega Nalewek (The Big Book of Tinctures) suggests that if you serve Krupnik heated, try adding a small piece of chocolate and a dab of butter.
I’ve tried it warm and found the fumes overpowering. I’ll stick to room temp or chilled.
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A honey and spice liqueur recipe that dates back 400 years
- 2 cups clover honey
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- zest of 1/2 lemon, remove with vegetable peeler
- 1/4 vanilla bean pod, sliced open
- 1 allspice berry
- 2 cups vodka
- Pour honey into a saucepan
- Add cloves, cinnamon, lemon zest, vanilla, and allspice
- Warm (keeping under a boil) and steep for 10 minutes
- Add vodka
- Remove from heat and let steep for a couple of hours
- Pour through strainer
- Pour into bottles
- Seal bottles
- Serve warm, at room temp, or chilled
If serving warm, add a small piece of chocolate and a small dab of butter
You can make this with spirytus, If using 2 cups of spirytus rather than 2 cups of vodka, add 2 cups of water to the honey before heating.