Krupnik is a beautifully rich and smooth, and fairly potent Polish liqueur of spiced vodka and honey. It is a drink that’s been made for centuries in Polish and Lithuanian homes, and is especially popular during the winter months.
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Perfect Cold Weather Drink
When you drink it, you’ll understand why, it is warming and it is soothing; no wonder then that it is the Polish and Lithuanian equivalent of the hot toddy, for curing colds!
I was introduced to Krupnik by a dear friend from Poland, called Anya. This was a drink that was always homemade by her mum and served during Wigilia, the traditional Christmas Eve meal. The drink would be handed around in a little glasses before and after the meal, with even the kids getting a sip, if they were lucky!
Polish Krupnik Recipe
There are many, many recipes for Krupnik, or Krupnikas, as it’s known in Lithuania, depending on the region and the family. Much of the difference lies in the type of honey used, as well as the spices themselves.
The vodka or pure alcohol and honey is non negotiable, forming the basis of this delicious liqueur. You can, however, be as fanciful as you, err, fancy, when it comes to the number and types of spices used. I am fairly conservative in the spices but I do like to add a generous amount of citrus.
Some people simmer the ingredients and let it all steep away for just a few hours, while others go down the overnight route. Anya only ever did it for a couple of hours because she said she could never wait!
But I’m going down the traditional route of letting it all develop overnight, for a deeper flavour and aroma. In fact, I’ve been known to drop a cinnamon stick and a couple of juniper berries after the liqueur has been strained into bottles. Why not?
So here’s the recipe for Krupnik, or Krupnikas, as I make it these days. Despite it being a little bit different from how I watched Anya making it, I’ve named it Anya’s Krupnik, because that’s how it’s known in our home, even after all these years!
Shall we get our aprons on?
More infusions and cocktails on the Drinks page:
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Anya’s Krupnik, a Polish Liqueur of Spiced Vodka and Honey
- 250 ml mild flavoured honey
- 250 ml water
- 1 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 allspice berries lightly crushed
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 unwaxed lemon sliced in rings
- 1 unwaxed orange sliced in rings
- 500 ml 80-proof vodka (at least 40% abv)
You will also need:
- a large muslin cloth or 2 medium
- a funnel
- 4 x 250ml 1 cup bottles, sterilized (or anything that will equal the total amount = 1litre/4 cups)
- Place everything, apart from the vodka, into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer on medium heat.
- As soon as it’s simmering, lower the heat right down and let it simmer for 1 minute.
- At the end of the minute, take it off the heat, and leave to cool for 5 minutes, before we add the vodka. This is important, as we don’t want the alcohol evaporating in the steaming liquid.
- At the end of 5 minutes, add the vodka, stir well with a wooden spoon, cover tightly with a lid or foil, and leave to steep overnight.
The Next Day
- Double line your funnel with your muslin cloth. If you have a large one, folding it over will work.
- Strain your Krupnik into the sterilized bottles, pushing down only ever so slightly on the contents. Don’t over do this, or your last bottle may be a touch bitter from the vanilla.
- Store your Krupnik in the sealed bottles, in a dark cool place for up to a year. The Krupnik is perfectly delicious drunk immediately, but will also improve with age.