Part of the traditional Polish wedding is making the vodka. That doesn’t mean distilling the vodka, though I suppose in a truly traditional Polish wedding, that might be the case. We followed the modern tradition (an oxymoron?) and simply bought good quality spirit (95% grain alcohol!) and diluted it. After all, distilling your own vodka is a romantic idea, but we don’t want our guests going blind as a result of our wedding.
There are several kinds of homemade vodka:
- przepalanka: spirit, water, and caramelized sugar
- miodóka: spirit, water, and honey
- cytrynówka: spirit, water, and lemon juice
We elected to make only przepalanka, with a bit of cytrynówka (1.5 liters, I believe) thrown in for the fun of it.
Making the wedding vodka took quite a while, for there’s quite a bit that has to be collected: bottles, spirit, sugar . . . (Only half sarcastic there)
The exact order of it all is somewhat arbitrary, but at some point, of course you have to collect the bottles at some point. And afterwards, wash them, carefully all the labels and such. The caps are less important, for you can buy special wedding bottle caps with a nice silhouette of newlyweds dancing.
Once those are ready, and the spirit has been bought, the fun begins.
The actual process/recipe is detailed here. It took about three hours to make about sixteen liters of vodka. The cost, I would estimate, was around thirty or forty dollars.
Until, of course, we decided we hadn’t made enough and brewed another twenty-five liters of it.
For bottle labels, we had a friend do a couple of sketches:
The przepalanka was the hit of the wedding party. We bought Pan Tadeusz, regular “clean” (translating directly from Polish) vodka, with the expectation that most people would prefer that. It went almost untouched.