Starka maybe considered as Slavic whisky.

Starka is a traditional dry vodka distilled from rye grain, currently produced only in Poland. Starka was a popular drink in Belarus in the past. Traditionally Starka is made from natural rye spirit and aged in oak barrels with small additions of linden-tree and apple-tree leaves. The methods of production are similar to those used in making whisky.

Starka was known in Poland, Belarus and Lithuania at least since the 15th century, later in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and by the 17th century became one of the favourite drinks of the nobility of the Commonwealth and Sarmatist culture.

Tradition had it that at a child’s birth, the father of the house poured large amounts of home-made spirits (approximately 75 proof) into an empty oak barrel, previously used to store wine (usually imported from Hungary). The barrel was then sealed with beeswax and buried, only to be dug out at the child’s wedding. The name itself stems from this process of aging and in 15th century Polish meant both the vodka type and an old woman. Alternatively the name is derived[citation needed] from the Lithuanian word “Starkus”, as production of Starka is associated[citation needed] with birth.

In late 19th century various companies simplified the production process and adopted it to the needs of mass production by the Lwów-based Baczewski company. After the end of World War I, which put an end to foreign rule over former parts of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, starka remained one of the most popular spirits in both countries.

Currently, Polmos Szczecin is the only company in Poland to produce Starka, and they offer it in all age classes, from 10 to 50 years old.


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