Our friend Kenner just returned from a trip to Poland with intriguing tales of heated alcoholic beverages and as the weather chills here as well those are sounding very attractive. We're already fans of toddies, GlÃ¶gg, Quelque Chose, etc. so we're very open to the whole concept. One of Kenner's finds was a warm mead, which sounds great. The only problem with mead is that the same word is applied to a lot different things, so I feel like we'd need to find the same brand or style to make sure we were trying the same thing.
The other drink he described was both more re-creatable, but had a certain dangerous sound. Piwo grzane--hot beer, with a flavored syrup, that you drink through a straw. Let's break that down for a second.
Beer. Yay! We like beer.
Hot beer. Huh. I know I just said we like Quelque Chose, but to an American palatte warm beer sounds odd, and saying the words "hot beer" out loud just sounds wrong.
... with a syrup. Here again--we drink plenty of fruity beers--lambics and fruit-flavored beers, but we tend to prefer the tart-er ones and there's something about adding a syrup that sounds a little weird.
... that you drink through a straw. You drink soda with a straw. But Kenner was very insistent--it's better through a straw.
OK, well we were ready to give it a try. Kenner said there were lots of variations--different beers, flavored syrups, etc (but the straw was important!) but that they had liked Okocim lager with raspberry syrup.
Our local liquor store didn't have any Okocim (this being Chicago, I'm sure I can find some eventually) so I thought I'd go with a tasty but simple lager and picked up a six-pack of Red Stripe.
We already had some Torani Raspberry Syrup, which is mostly sugar-water with flavor, but our local grocery store happened to have real Polish Polonaise Raspberry Syrup (Syrop Malinowy), which is made with raspberry juice. Our cashier gave us the thumbs up as we were checking out. "Very good with just a little water," she said. Noted.
The actual preparation was dead easy. I poured two bottles of lager into a big Pyrex measuring cup, heated it up in the microwave for about three and a half minutes, then poured it out into two pints glasses. I gave a healthy pour of raspberry syrup into each glass -- which fizzed up and mixed nicely on its own. And then two straws.
The verdict: very nice. Warming, tasty. Maybe a little too easy to drink fairly quickly. Definitely an addition to our winter-drink list.