The culture of drinking in Poland

Drinking all kind of alcohols, especially these with higher content of % is a tradition in northern Europe. In the past it was a necessity, as the people who were leaving houses in winter time needed a warm up- temperature dropped over minus 20. Also it was a remedy for nearly every illness. There’s an old custom in the north region of Poland, that to prepare for work in the sun on the field the farmers drink one shot of hot water and spirit in proportion 1:1 ,with addition of fresh lemon juice. I don’t know why, but they are saying it helps against overheating and strokes. Before the time of prohibition it was normal to prepare the hooch in the households. The base for this high percentage substance are after fermentation pulps of fruits or grains. In Poland especially from apples, plums, herbals, brewery malts and with addition of honey, what overall can became 40- 70% alcohol. There’s a lot of home recipes, they were tested and improved for hundreds of years, so we know how to prepare distillation devices and what actions to take by following the texts. It happens that even now the government cannot effectively require of society to comply with the law. Only the small amount of alcohols can be produced for a household, personal purpose. Now that the policy of not drinking in public places had been introduced the government is happy to set positive examples and maintain standards, but easiest way to overcome it, is to put alcohol to not-labeled bottle. The police is very sensitive to this subject, and if you are not cautious you can easily get from 100 to 500 złotych (100=25E) of penalty. Alcohol consumption in the circles of young people (18-26) is shoving, that the most often drank kind is beer, next vodka-clear and flavored- and following, wines. Whiskies, meads, liqueurs, calvados and gins are rarer; last are champagnes, cognacs and other. The number of parties where vodka appears depend on the circle of people, but most common measure is every 2 weeks. There need to be good occasion or reason to start them. To chill out or meet ordinary with people the beer is used. Very few families have custom of drinking wine or other alcohol to the dinner- mostly fruit juice, syrups, water and tea is drank. The idea of drinking alcohol to the dinner came with fast-foods. The situation is different with suppers, when normally drinking is starting. Later on, on bigger events you have 2 choices-mix alcohols or drink pure vodka from shots. I’m estimating that 1/3, 1/4 of people on such parties choses second option. The flavored vodka’s don’t require after gulps of other liquids. When the toast is made, the words said can be: do dna! (till the end!) or na zdrowie! (salut!). The smart remarks are often given, f.ex like: To the Russian submarines- do dna(which also means-let them sink till the end!; we also have a long tradicion of hating Russian people because of occupation). Hangovers are pretty common after such a party, that is a partial reason for not organizing them very often. Still, most of people are ending only with headaches and feeling of dryness. In summary, I can say, that the rule of “everything or nothing” is strictly followed in the party time in Poland.

Party table in communism time (a lot of sour food, herring in brine, jewish salad)



Most common vodka’s brands in poland (there should be also «Żubrówka»)


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