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International Recipe Exchange

Traditional Polish Beverages

MLEKO Z MIODEM (hot milk & honey): Combine in pot 1 c. milk (preferably whole milk but no leaner than 2%) and 1 heaping T. honey and gently heat to a boil. An excellent remedy for sleeplessness. For cold symptoms add 1 t. butter to pot.

HERBATA Z SOKIEM MALINOWYM (tea & raspberry syrup): Sweeten each glass or cup of hot tea  with 1-2 T. pure raspberry syrup. This is a traditional cold and flu remedy. Other fruit syrups (cherry, strawberry, etc.) may be used but lack the medicinal properties of raspberry. For added potency, add 1/2 - 1 jigger vodka to each serving.

HERBATA Z RUMEM (rum-flavored tea): To each glass or cup of hot tea, sweetened to taste, add about 1 t. freshly-squeezed lemon juice and 1/2 - 1 jigger rum. Note: vodka plus several drops of rum extract may be used if real rum is not available..

GRZANE PIWO (mulled beer): In pot combine 1 qt beer, 4 T. sugar, 1 bayleaf,  2 pinches of cinnamon and ground cloves and (optional) a pinch of pepper. Heat to just below boiling,  stirring to dissolve sugar and serve. Increase or decrease sugar and spices according to taste.

GRZANIEC (mulled wine): In pot combine 1 qt dry red wine, 5-6 T. sugar, a grating of nutmeg and a pinch or two of cinnamon and ground cloves and heat to boiling. You can also use a sweet red wine, in which case omit or decrease the amount of  sugar.

KRUPNIK (hot honey-spice cordial): In pot combine 1 c. honey, 1/2 c. water, 1 crumbled bayleaf, 1/2 a vanilla pod, chopped (or 1 t. vanilla extract),  1 t. lemon zest, a grating of nutmeg, 10 cloves and 2 pinches of cinnamon. Bring to boil, reduce heat, skimming off scum and simmer covered about 10 min. Strain, discarding spices. Add 3 c. 100 proof  vodka and heat gently but do not boil! Serve immediately, preferably in crystal cordial glasses. Warning: This is not a beverage to fill a thermos bottle with or drink by the cup!


Polish  finger foods are known as koreczki. These colorfully attractive shishkebab-style hors d'oeuvres will add a touch of elegance to any event. Serve them as the main attraction of  a cocktail hour or a light appetizer preceding a full course banquet. Allow 2-3 hors d'oeuvres per person and prepare that many toothpicks or cocktail picks and skewer them with 4-6 of the following ingredients:

  • meat & sausage (unsliced): Cut into small cubes: Polish canned ham, other boiled or baked ham, smoked kie³basa, Krakowska sausage, hunter's sausage (skinned), cooked meat (chicken, turkey, beef, pork, veal), firm  pâté, boiled beef tongue, skinless frankfurters, etc.;
  • firm yellow cheese (unsliced): Cut into small cubes Tilsit, Edam, Gouda, Swiss (Emmentaler, Gruyère), brick, farmer cheese, white (not orange-colored!) American cheese or similar (except orange-colored cheddar);
  • fish & seafood: Use whole canned mussels and baby shrimps, but cut into pieces the size of your meat and cheese cubes any of the following: smoked sprats, sardines, anchovy fillets and/or marinated herring (well-drained on absorbent paper), smoked fish (salmon, trout, carp, whitefish, herring, mackerel, cod, etc.) and solid tuna fish.
  • fruits & veggies: Use  cocktail onions, canned button mushrooms, pickled mushrooms, pitted spiced cherries, raw cranberries, raisins, small  seedless grapes, small olives (green & black), capers and large peas (cooked or canned) whole.  The following should be cut into pieces of roughly equal size: dill pickles (vinegar and/or brined type), gherkins, fresh cucumber, radishes, bell pepper (red, yellow and/or green), rindless lemon wedges, pitted prunes, other dried fruit,  dates, pickled beets (well drained and patted dry so they don't stain neighboring ingredients), and pitted spiced plums.
  • bread: rye, black bread, French, unglazed piernik (honey-spice cake or gingerbread), etc.

Some suggestions:

  • cocktail onion, smoked fish, cucumber, radish, cheese
  • cucumber, chicken, radish, chicken, cranberry
  • sausage, dill pickle, bread cube, mushroom, cheese
  • cranberry, ham, bell pepper, bread cube, radish
  • green olive, turkey, cocktail onion, cheese, black olive,  
  • raisin, cheese, caper, cheese, cucumber
  • cocktail onion, sprat, lemon wedge, anchovy, cucumber
  • mushroom, tuna, dill pickle, bread, cheese
  • spiced plum, mussel, bell pepper, shrimp, green olive
  • gherkin, tongue, piernik cube, cocktail onion
  • spiced cherry, hunter's sausage, beet, black bread, smoked kielbasa
  • radish, cooked meat, cranberry, ham, date
  • cocktail onion, cucumber, bell pepper, radish, cranberry  (for vegetarians)
  • sausage,  bread, tongue, cranberry, pâté, mushroom, ham (for meat-lovers)
  • smoked salmon, lemon wedge, tuna, caper, mussel (for seafood fanciers)
  • Swiss cheese, radish, farmer cheese, olive, edam or gouda(for cheese-lovers)

 These are just a few examples. Use your imagination to come up with combinations of your own. Oranges, apples or grapefruits are impaled with the hors d'oeuvres and placed around the room for easy access. Snugly placing the orange, apple, etc., in a vase, bowl or glass will keep it stable.


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