Sure we’re ardent gin-lovers but ever since our Eighties clubbing days we’ve always had a soft spot for vodka. The only difference is now our palates are much more discerning. These days they won’t perk up for anything other than the distinct characteristics of the good stuff; the ones where the words ‘luxury’ and ‘premium’ actually mean something.

Harvest time with Jan Skwierawski

Claire Smith assesses the rye in the fields

There are a few brands that spring to mind but as we’re still basking in the romance of our visit to Poland with Claire Smith, Head of Spirit Creation and Mixology and the Polish arm of the wonderful Belvedere crew last week, Belvedere vodka is right at the top of our list.

Close-up of Dankowski Gold Rye

We haven’t been brainwashed, more like pleasantly intoxicated. And no, we don’t mean drunk. There’s something very special about witnessing the harvesting taking place as we did – that’s when the marketing gumph really comes to life. Being slightly jaded by the increasing number of press releases that plop on our desks, it’s easy to be dismissive about the gushing statements. But it’s not until you see the combine harvester gathering the finest Dankowski Gold Rye in Jan Skwierawski’s fields in Bartezek that you truly understand what the Belvedere line of ‘representing the pinnacle of Polish vodka-making tradition’ really means.  Guess what we’ll be drinking this weekend? (after National Rum Day of course…)




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