Monday, November 16, 2009

A Toast to the Savior of Vienna

I was away most of the day taking the future Baron to the doctor and then picking up his medicine.

The doctor said that the fB’s ailment is almost certainly swine flu, and put him on prednisone and cough syrup with some yummy narcotics added to it. She says that about 95% of the flu in our area is H1N1.

The prednisone has now kicked in, and he is feeling better already, enough to eat dinner with us. He’s still coughing like a demon, though.

Do y’all realize how much email you manage to send me in just a few short hours?

Jan Sobieski vodkaSo until I can catch up and get back to full blogging speed, here’s a little side note.

Several members of ICLA attended the annual OSCE Human Dimension meeting in Warsaw last month, and one of them returned with a present for me, as shown in the photo at right.

It’s Jan Sobieski Vodka, and those of you who attend regular meetings here at Gates of Vienna would easily recognize the man in the illustration on the label, if it weren’t so small. My camera isn’t good enough to take a clear picture of that tiny portrait, but interested readers may refer to my comprehensive post from several years ago to find out more about Jan III Sobieski, the King of Poland and the Savior of Vienna in 1683.

Skol!


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9 comments:

4Symbols said...

Whats in a name? This could be a weapon for the counter jehad, if vodka is your choice drink, from high culture to mass culture - books, music, movies any vessel that links to the message.

Charles Martel said...

A friend of mine is Polish and is always touting Sobieski vodka. Best vodka in the world, he says, and I don't doubt it! Almost makes me want to become a Vodka man.

One_of_the_last_few_Patriots_left said...

Very interesting, Baron! I will have to look for this spirit at my local "packy" { not to be confused, in this day and age, with "Paki." ;) }

It brings back memories: when I was in Poland back in 1991 to visit relatives, I was amused to hear of what they called "the Alcohol Affair." Under Communism, the government ran the distilleries and the good stuff was only for export to get hard currency. The locals were stuck drinking rotgut.
It seems that one enterprising government employee who worked at the Warsaw distillery decided to...ahem... "modify" the plumbing inside the distillery buildings to channel vodka outside the concrete wall that surrounded the entire facility. He then sold the good stuff on the black market. Because a distillery has a lot of plumbing in it, and because he only skimmed a relatively small amount out of the total production, no one noticed for a couple of years, by which time he had made a considerable profit.
God bless the free enterprise system.

Let me suggest to you the Polish toast "Na zdrowje!" which simply means "To (your) health!" It is pronounced "nah-ZDROH-vyeh" and if it sounds familiar that is because the Russian (another Slavic language) version is very similar.

I will add Sobieski vodka to my Christmas shopping list.

Thank you for a most intersting post, Baron, and "To your health!"

"Na zdrowje!"

One_of_the_last_few_Patriots_left said...

While we are on the subject, let me also recommend that you do a google search for "Krupnik" ( pronounced "KROOP-nyeek." ) This is a traditional Polish adult spirit that is made with HONEY! It is quite popular in Poland. My older brother, God rest his soul, loved this stuff. During the summer, this can be taken on-the-rocks, but during the cold winter months it may be heated; a good way to stay warm on Christmas Eve. Na zdrowje!

One_of_the_last_few_Patriots_left said...

Uh, let me also suggest... ( Baron, you've really gotten me going here )
that you select a nice vodka such as Sobieski, put it on-the-rocks, and get two LIMES, cut them into thin slices, and squeeze the lime juice into the vodka. You can arrange the lime slices arround the rim of the glass so that it looks pretty. I developed this myself. I call it a "Christmas tree." Back when I was drinking vodka, I found that lime juice would make even vile rotgut go down smooth. So much the better if the vodka was of good quality.
All right, then: Sobieski vodka on-the-rocks with several slices of lime. Call it a "Polish Christmas Tree."

Baron Bodissey said...

Patriot --

Thanks for all the recipes! The one with the limes really appeals to me; I will try that one first.

Aeneas said...

Great to see that you are enjoying the Vodka that the OSCE ICLA people brought you. Your readers might not be aware that we completed the Gates of Vienna theme by staying at the Jan III Sobieski Hotel in Warsaw.

Anonymous said...

If it's not Russian vodka, it's not worth drinking, people ;-)

My favorite is Nemiroff Birch Special (ironically enough, I think Nemiroff is actually a Ukrainian brand, but oh well). My favorite vodka name is Putinka (because of its relationship to Putin). Putinka is also a pretty decent vodka.

And seriously, you all ought to drink your vodka like the Russians: very cold and straight. Don't put anything in it--just pour a shot and then drink it down all at once.

На здорвье!

One_of_the_last_few_Patriots_left said...

Happy to be of service, Baron, happy to be of service!


Natalie said, "If it's not Russian vodka, it's not worth drinking..."

I suspect the problem may be a hangover...uh, I mean holdover...from the communist era. Although vodka has always been popular all over Eastern Europe, when the Soviets were in power I had real trouble finding any East European products here in the US.
Because of typical communist inefficiency, small amounts of the good stuff were available for export to obtain hard currency, while the sky-high Soviet era alcoholism rates were fueled by lakes full of the cheapest swill you can possibly imagine.
When I was in Poland in 1991, I heard the locals grumble about the lack of the good stuff and they told me horror stories about moonshiners going blind and insane from drinking their own methanol-contaminated homebrew hooch. I trust that 18 years of free enterprise has increased supply to meet demand and raised the level of quality.

Natalie, your comments suggest that you are an enthusiast. Perhaps you could hunt down a couple dozen different brands of Eastern Europe's finest, test them, and report back to us!? (For that matter, have you ever tried Finlandia? I used to drink it back in the day and thought it quite good, but I'm no expert.)

*Sigh* As I have esophageal reflux, I'm not supposed to drink any alcohol at all (or even coffee.)
The Baron's post is tempting me to "cheat" a bit during this coming holiday season. Meanwhile, perhaps I can still enjoy a nice little cup of Darjeeling every now and again.