Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Żubrówka Vodka Comes to U.S. at ŻU, Minus the Bison Grass

Anyone who has ever tried the Polish vodka Żubrówka will never forget it. Unlike most vodkas, which has little or no discernible flavor (and pride themselves on this void), Żubrówka has a grassy, herbaceous taste unmatched by any other liquor. That's because the rye-based distillate is flavored with bison grass that grows in the Białowieża Forest.

During its several centuries of its production, however, the vodka has never been available in the U.S. Now it will be, but under the name of ŻU Vodka.

Why the new name? Well, it has something to do with this being a bison grass flavored vodka, as opposed to a bison grass vodka.

See, Żubrówka is not legal in the States due to its high coumarin content. Coumarin is a natural substance found in many plants (if you've ever passed a field of new-mown hay, you've smelled coumarin). But it is banned by the FDA, because it is deemed toxic when consumed in large amounts. To address this issue, the distillers at Polmos Bialystock—the only authorized creator of Żubrówka—have flavored ŻU with "a proprietary all-natural blend of identically replicate the flavors of bison grass."

ŻU is debuting in New York, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas, Colorado and Nevada. It goes for $25.

1 comment:

The Quiet Drinker said...

Stumbled on your site a while ago through a google search and have been popping by off and on ever since.

I remember buying Zubrowka in St. Louis some years ago that was stripped of its FDA banned chemical. We also happened to have a bottle of the real stuff brought back from Poland by a friend. In a blind taste test of the two vodkas, my partner couldn't tell the difference (which was surprising to him because he swore that he could).

Now it's being rebranded Zu. I guess no one was buying it, but then again who knew what Zubrowka was 8 years ago? You're right in your assessment though, it is the most interesting flavored vodka on the market.

I write a clumsy little blog (therapy). Stop by if you like:

The Quiet Drinker