I have a bottle of peach Nalewka Babuni, a fortified Polish fruit wine (18% ABV), which I found sitting—very dusty—on the “meads and other unpopular wines” shelf at one of my favorite local grocers. For some reason it beckoned to me. Probably because it was $8.50 and has a name that might be fun to pronounce.
Nalewka Babuni is pretty awful taken neat at room temperature, which is apparently the traditional way of consuming it. Traditional practices are important to keep in mind, here, because the label describes it as a:
Refined, old Polish liquor, present in all the 19th century houses of noblemen. The recipe handed down by noble grandmas has remained unchanged to the present day, lending a glamour to family meetings.
I’d venture that the unchanged recipe of those noble Polish grandmas must’ve been pretty forward-thinking in its day, because the label goes on to note that Peach Nalewka Babuni Wine Specialty is made of grape white wine, molasses neutral spirits, artificial peach type flavor and caramel coloring. I had naïvely thought that 19th century noble grandmas would have produced their peach wines from actual peaches, but that just goes to show how little I know of Eastern European oenological traditions.
Nalewka Babuni is a product of Vinpol, whose product page translates it as “Grandma’s Liquor” for the English-speaking audience. For the record, my grandma’s liquor was Old Crow, but she wasn’t Polish.
Artificially flavored and colored though it may be, this stuff’s not a complete write-off. I’m actually half-enjoying a 3:1 martini made with Nalewka Babuni in lieu of vermouth (and a generous helping of orange bitters). I wouldn’t recommend that anyone run out and buy a case, but it may prove to have its uses. Ah, novelty.
Not a cocktail, but I don’t have a wine category. I enjoy wine, but don’t concern myself with it overmuch. Are my tastes proletarian? I don’t care. What I do know is that we had a lovely bottle this evening, and I’m going to look for more of it, because the Finca Antigua Crianza 2001, from Martinez Bujanda, is delicious.
I don’t have a dab-hand with a wine-writer’s vocabulary, so I won’t attempt to describe it beyond that. Which is just as well, because someone at Martinez Bujanda thought it would be a good idea for the tasting notes of their Tempranillo to include :
Long and persistent finish. Touches of yoghurt appear in the retronasal tract.
I am so glad we had the crianza instead.
Fill large Bar glass ⅔ full Shaved Ice.
3 dashes Gum Syrup
4 dashes Lemon Juice.
1 dash Lime Juice.
1 teaspoonful Abricontine or green Chartreuse.
½ jigger Tokay or Sweet Catawba Wine.
½ jigger Brandy.
Stir well and strain into a fancy Sour glass; dress with Fruits; dash with Apollinaris or Seltzer; top off with a little Claret and serve.
Take 1½ lbs. of Cut Loaf Sugar and rub the lumps on the skins of 4 Lemons and 2 Oranges until the Sugar becomes well saturated with the oil from the skins. Then put the Sugar thus prepared into a large porcelain-lined or agate Mixing vessel, and add:
12 Oranges, sliced.
1 Pineapple, sliced.
1 box Strawberries.
2 bottles (quarts) Apollinaris Water.
Stir thoroughly with oak paddle or large silver ladle, and add:
1 jigger Benedictine.
1 jigger Red Curacoa.
1 jigger Maraschino.
½ jigger Jamaica Rum.
1 quart Brandy.
4 quarts Tokay or Sweet Catawba Wine.
2 quarts Madeira Wine.
4 quarts Chateau Margaux.
Mix well with oak paddle or ladle and strain into another bowl in which has been placed a block of clear ice. Then pour in 6 quarts Champagne. Decorate the Ice with Fruits, Berries, etc. Serve in Punch cups or glasses, dressing each glass with Fruit and Berries from the bowl.
Before a Fire or in a Hot Oven roast 6 large Oranges until they are of a light brown color, and then place them in a deep dish and scatter over them ½ lb. of Granulated Sugar and pour on 1 pint of Port or Claret Wine. Then cover the dish and set aside for 24 hours before the time to serve.
When about ready for the service, set the dish in boiling water; press the Juice from the Oranges with a large spoon or wooden potato masher and strain the Juice through a fine seive or cheese cloth. Then boil 1 pint of Port or Claret and mix it with the Strained Juice.
Serve in stem Claret glasses while warm. A little Nutmeg on top improves the drink, but should not be added unless requested by customer or guest.