Hangover verdict: 65 %
Wikipedia about Żubrówka Vodka:
Żubrówka [ʐuˈbrufka], also known in English as Buffalo Grass Vodka or Bison Grass Vodka, is a brand of dry, herb–flavored vodka that is distilled from rye and bottled at 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof). Its flavor is unique and is described as having woodruff, vanilla, coconut, and almond notes.
The rye distillate is flavored with a tincture of buffalo grass (Hierochloe odorata), which also gives the spirit its yellowish color. This grass grows in the Białowieża Forest (which is partly in Poland and partly in Belarus) and elsewhere. A blade of buffalo grass is traditionally placed in each bottle of Żubrówka, though this is largely decorative.
Żubrówka has been manufactured in the region of the contemporary Polish–Belarusian (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) border since the 16th century, and by 18th century was one of the favorite raw drinks of the nobility (szlachta) and the peasantry alike. In 1926 the Polish Polmos company in Brest Litovsk (now Belalco, Brest, Belarus) invented a method to mass produce Żubrówka, which was then copied by numerous companies worldwide, under a variety of brand names. The original distillery company in Brest (Belaco) still produces Brestskaya Zubrowka (Зуброўка), as do Russia (Зубровка), Lithuania (Stumbrinė), United States (Bison Vodka), Ukraine (Зубрiвка), Germany (Grasovka), the Czech Republic (Zubrovka), and many other countries. Currently the brand Żubrówka, its translations into other languages, and the grass inside a bottle of alcoholic beverage are registered by the Polmos Białystok company in Białystok, Poland.
The bison emblem (Mylvivä härkä, “roaring bull”) of Lapland Air Command, Finnish Air Force, originated from the label of Polmos Żubrówka. It was introduced in 1941 as the emblem of PLeLv 46, on its Dornier 17 bombers.
Żubrówka in the United States
Because bison grass contains the toxic compound coumarin, which is prohibited as a food additive by the Food and Drug Administration, importing of Żubrówka into the United States was banned in 1978 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
When produced according to traditional methods (between one and two kilograms of grass per thousand litres of alcohol), Żubrówka contains approximately 12 milligrams of coumarin per litre. In 1999, distilleries that were not connected with the Polish brand introduced lower quality reformulated versions of the product, sometimes using artificial flavors and colors, with the emblematic blade of grass in every bottle but “neutralised” so as to be coumarin-free. In 2011 the American licensee of the Polish company worked with Rémy Cointreau to introduce a new American formulation, which they called “Zu”.
Żubrówka is usually served chilled and mixed with apple juice (a drink known in Polish as tatanka or szarlotka; known in the UK as a Frisky Bison; and in the US as a Polish Kiss). It is sometimes served over vanilla ice cream. A Black Bison is Żubrówka mixed with black currant juice. Another common mixer is ginger ale. Żubrówka also goes well with mango juice.
On 15 November 2010 Żubrówka Biała (White Żubrówka) was launched on the Polish market. The manufacturer claims “this was the most effective sales launch of a vodka in the last decade”. The vodka is distilled six times and uses platinum filtration which results in a very mild taste.