I recently received some Polish vodka to try (Zubrowka being among them), and endeavoured to go in with an open mind — for the vodka that is. I am a brown spirits afficionado — never met a brown spirit I didn't like — if its got age and funk on it, I'm there! Cocktails with deep and complex flavours are also my preference, hence the graviation to rums and whiskys. Thus, when I
received the vodka to try, I was somewhat skeptical. The vodkas that typically inhabit my liquor cabinet are in large part, ones with more flavourful and spicy notes, often rye-based. (my review of the two vodkas will be up soon over at Foodie.ca).
Anyhow, the short story is that I wanted to try these vodkas in a couple of "non-vodka" cocktail recipes – substituting the vodkas for gin — the Bramble (by Dick Bradsell, 1984) was one of them. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Zubrowka stood up!
I did make one major modification to enhance the grassy notes of the Zubrowka vodka — I used agave syrup rather than simple syrup. Other than that, the proportions were the same as the classic Bramble: 2 oz. Zubrowka, 1 oz. fresh lemon juice, 1/2 oz. agave syrup, over crushed ice, float 1/2 oz. creme de muir. (According to Angus Winchester, it should look like blood dripping from a finger priced by bramble thorns – I think we came close with this one!)