The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
 
 
User: Guest

Home / Life  % width posts: 22

Important Poland etiquette question: bite of the herring first, then a shot, or shot first, then a herring?


f stop 25 | 2,513
21 Nov 2014 #1
A friend asked the guests to bring an hors d'oeuvre reflecting one's culture. originally, as a joke I decided to bring herring and vodka, but once committed, I'm forging ahead. Home made marinated Matjes herring squares on toothpics, a bottle of Belvedere frozen in a block of ice... So here is the question: I'm sure I'm going to have to demonstrate the procedure, and I'm not sure what makes more sense: bite of the herring first, then a shot, or shot first, then a herring?

TYIA
jon357 63 | 15,378
21 Nov 2014 #2
Russians do the vodka first, pop a bit of herring in their mouths and let the vodka fumes roll over the herring. Takes a bit of practice though...
OP f stop 25 | 2,513
21 Nov 2014 #3
OK, vodka first.
I think I'm going to present it as "proceed at your own risk" kind of experience.
I could dare them, but then somebody might upchuck.

Should I get some black bread? Even though I have absolutely no control when it comes to herring, and vodka is my drink of choice, I feel something is missing. Maybe something sour at the end would make it a less farrowing of an experience for the uninitiated?
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
21 Nov 2014 #4
The language is self-explanatory. The Polish bite-down is called a zakąska or (more crudely) zagrycha. It comprises the prefix za (after, beyond, behind) and derivatives of the verbs kąsać and gryźć (to bite). So the nip comes first and is followed by the bite-down. Na zdrowie or Chluśniem bo uśniem!!
Wulkan - | 3,251
21 Nov 2014 #5
Russians do the vodka first, pop a bit of herring in their mouths and let the vodka fumes roll over the herring. Takes a bit of practice though...

I'm afraid she wants to know what do Polish do not Russians...
jon357 63 | 15,378
21 Nov 2014 #6
The Polish (as I'm sure you know) almost always do fruit juice in a separate glass. Almost nobody nowadays except old men and Russians do that thing with the herring, fun though it is. However the lady did ask about the hearing, a strong Russian tradition. There are a few possibilities other than herring, by the way.

Should I get some black bread?

Probably - it isn't for the uninitiated and the technique is quite specific. The black bread isn't very authentic though.
OP f stop 25 | 2,513
22 Nov 2014 #7
What technique are you talking about, Jon? I'm not picturing the rolling fumes. ;) Can you be more specific?

As far as bread goes, I don't have too many choices, it's either that or rye bread.
jon357 63 | 15,378
22 Nov 2014 #8
Here you are:

1. Pour a half an ounce of vodka into a shot glass (preferably made of Czech crystal). This amount is optimal for both fully experiencing the drinking process and for extending it through four to six toasts (2-3 drinks).
2. Pick out a spicy and salty hors-d'oeuvre of your choice and smell it. High-brow: caviar, smoked fish, selected marinated mushrooms. Low-brow: pickles, herring, salami.
3. Breathe out loudly through your mouth emitting an animal noise. No air should be left in your lungs.
4. Drink your vodka in one swallow. DO NOT BREATHE IN. Breathing in will let the air into your system and will negate steps 1-3, and your mouth will burn.
5. Put your food in your mouth WITHOUT BREATHING IN and chew it pensively for 15 seconds, trying to direct your gaze inward like as if you were a woman etc.
6. Finally, breathe in.

barnesandnoble/review/holiday-spirits/

Enjoy!
OP f stop 25 | 2,513
22 Nov 2014 #9
Love it. Thanks! Wait... What kind of animal noises??
jon357 63 | 15,378
22 Nov 2014 #10
A snoring labradoodle...
ShawnH 8 | 1,506
22 Nov 2014 #11
What kind of animal noises??

A wheezing geezer.

3. Breathe out loudly through your mouth emitting an animal noise.

That might be ok if you were drinking plonk vodka. What if you enjoy the taste of the vodka you are consuming? Takes away from the sensory pleasures on the taste buds.
OP f stop 25 | 2,513
22 Nov 2014 #12
For the sake of the argument, let's just assume there are not that many people that drink straight vodka for its taste.
Getting ready for the party. As far as the animal noises, I'll have to skip that part. Not enough information. ;)

Thanks all, it was a huge hit! I didn't even bother with the bread. All my herring is gone, along with a bottle of vodka. Now, everybody knows to bite the herring before taking a breath. It was a fancy company, though, 16th century Italian art on the walls and all.. next time I'll do caviar instead of herring.
jon357 63 | 15,378
28 Jan 2016 #13
Last night, we were eating a smoked sturgeon that someone had given to a friend. One of the three of us is from the former Soviet Union and did the vodka and fish the Russian way. He complained that the vodka (czysty Krupnik) didn't taste nice. The other person (who is Polish) said half indignantly and half laughing that you aren't supposed to actually taste the vodka!

The sturgeon by the way was delicious albeit scary looking.
jon357 63 | 15,378
28 Jan 2016 #14
Here it is by the way







Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163
28 Jan 2016 #15
three of us

Tell no more...
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
29 Jan 2016 #16
shot first, then a herring

Shot first and then herring or other zakąska (bite-down, morsel, snack). The traditional Polish way is not just to drink but the bite down each round. That greatly incresases the imbiber's staying power, unlike mean and miserly Brits who just drink for a quick, cheap high.
Dougpol1 32 | 3,245
29 Jan 2016 #17
mean and miserly Brits who just drink for a quick, cheap high.

You have obviously never been in a British pub. Brits are not miserly and are happy to shout the round (look it up on your iPhone....)

And why bother with food? The wife prepares that. Unlike Poland, we have quality drink Polonius.

It's called a whisky chaser ( for me preferably a Scotch or three, such as Glenlivet) followed by 6 or 7 pints of hoppy 3.8% ale.

Poles have no clue on how to distill something that doesn't require an induced taste by being half frozen in the fridge, or how to brew a proper cask conditioned beer, so they are left with the necessity to nibble something, to chew at some age old inedible creature to nullify the lack of satisfying and calorie giving alcohol ( in the Poles' case by eating long dead and very disgusting tasting smelly fish - that historically even the poorest of Brits would only eat in times of famine, and even then I would gladly starve)

Here to help as always.

A snoring labradoodle...

That I can identify with :( Though my hound is minus the doodle. And he eats anything at all, even fish, but not herring, Polish style, cause he has some taste.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
29 Jan 2016 #18
Glenlivet

You cna have it! Glenviet, Chivas Regal, White Horse, Johnny Walker Red and Black as well as all other Scotches have a krople żołądkowe (Polish stomach drops) aftertaste. There's nothing like cognac or a good, albeit less pricey French brandy.
Roger5 1 | 1,458
29 Jan 2016 #19
You've mixed malt and grain whiskies here. They are very different drinks and each one has its own taste. White Horse and JW red are very much at the lower end of the market, while Chivas and Glenlivet are far superior whiskies. I stopped drinking any hard stuff many years ago, so I'm no expert, but one of my favourites was Laphroig, which tastes of earth and peatsmoke. I accept that some people might like the taste of neat vodka, but Scotch whisky is made to be savoured rather than knocked back as though to get rid of it asap.
gumishu 11 | 5,493
29 Jan 2016 #20
which tastes of earth and peatsmoke

hmm interesting but I'd rather stay away from eating or drinking the earth :P and well Polish potato vodka did taste good in the past - I am not a fan of drinking it ice cold - but I actually don't drink it often
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
29 Jan 2016 #21
They are very different drinks

Perhaps a common sewer, er, um, I mean connoissuer could tell the difference, but
to me they've all got that tell-tale medicinal aftertaste. Sorry!
OP f stop 25 | 2,513
20 Dec 2016 #22
I had to look this up again.
Vodka first, herring next. No breath inbetween. ;)
Na zdrowie!


Home / Life / Important Poland etiquette question: bite of the herring first, then a shot, or shot first, then a herring?
BoldItalic [quote]
 
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.