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As soon as Russia announced their Anti-Homosexual Propaganda law, the world reacted. Regardless if people were gay or straight, the majority of the free-thinking world found it completely unacceptable, and rightly so. In a move of solidarity, some bars, clubs and restaurants decided to stop serving Russian vodka. Not only that, but people were also refusing to buy Russian produce from shops and supermarkets, again, namely vodka. So it was goodbye to Russian Standard, so long Stoli and dasvidaniya Beluga. But where do the premium vodka lovers go from here?
The market is jam packed with vodkas from all over the world, and some of them are well known brands. Pretty much everyone knows Grey Goose, Absolut and Belvedere, which is great, but they’re so standard now. Myself, I like something unique and off the cuff. I like to have friends over and offer them drinks that they’ve never had before. But what vodka do you get that is premium and unique and that isn’t Russian? Step in Poland.
Poland produces some of the best vodka in the world and their range is vast. But there is one for me which stands out the most. U’Luvka Vodka.
I was introduced to U’Luvka at Bar Vista at The Trafalgar Hotel. Its bottle design is something quite special in itself. A large bulb like base, with a long, thin, crooked neck. It actually looked pretty awesome. The palate is slightly buttery and sweet with a little spice to it. It’s very crisp and light too, which makes it an easy drink. But if you’re not a fan of drinking straight vodka, the cocktails we had made for us were something rather special too.
I treated myself to 2 cocktails: The Salamander and The Quintessence. Both of these cocktails now feature quite a bit at my house parties. The Salamander is made with Bramley Apple Juice, Bramley Apple Liqueur and Chilli Sugar. This cocktail is very sharp due to the Bramley apple, but you can sweeten it up by using Cox apple juice instead. The interesting thing with this cocktail is the heat that’s given off at the end of a sip. The chilli lends a whole new dimension to the drink. I love seeing my friends try it and then reel back with an intrigued look of shock when the chilli hits.
The Quintessence is a much sweeter drink. Made with pear juice and quince jam. It’s much easier on the palate. During late autumn, quinces are in season, so a top tip is to grate some quince into a bottle of U’Luvka, and leave it to infuse for a few months. You end up with something quite spectacular.
U’Luvka is slowly becoming quite a well known brand. The other day I was in Sainsbury’s, when I saw a bottle for sale in there for £38. Ok, so it’s not cheap. But do you know what, that’s a great thing! Unlike Smirnoff and Glenn’s, you’re not going to wake up with a splitting headache. U’Luvka is one of those rare drinks, that has had so much thought and care put into making it that they only use the finest rye, wheat and barley in Poland.
So next time you’re on a night out and want something special, whilst showing solidarity to our brothers and sister across the North Sea, I would strongly recommend you try U’Luvka, or even when you’re next in Sainsbury’s, pick up a bottle.
Enjoy yourselves when out having a drink, but remember to always drink sensibly.