A vodka lover’s dream has touched down in Poland. The country’s first museum celebrating all things neutral spirit recently opened in an old Vodka factory in Warsaw, and it covers more than 500 years of vodka history.
The museum is called the Muzeum Polskiej Wódki, which simply means the Museum of Polish Vodka. Visitors can do vodka tastings, sample vodka and food pairings and sip on vodka cocktails along with their vodka history lesson. That history lesson leans strongly Polish, if you couldn’t guess from the name.
“Our museum is a tribute to the history of vodka production in Poland, a history spanning more than 500 years,” Andrzej Szumowski, president of the Polish Vodka Association, told AFP. He also said that “Poland is the cradle of vodka,” and took a dig at Russia by adding that, “It’s only 100 years later that vodka appeared in Russia.”
The Poland versus Russia vodka feud has long a long history. It reached a climax in 1977 when the Polish government sued the USSR to designate the term “vodka” as a product only coming from Poland, much like bourbon can only be used for a product from the U.S., or tequila from Mexico. The lawsuit claimed it was made in the former Polish city of Cherkaska, which is now called Cherkasy and is located in Ukraine. Russia countered by hiring a historian to write a book on vodka that claimed it was invented in Russia, and Poland ended up losing the case. A museum of Polish vodka, though, seems like a bold step to reclaim vodka’s origin story. Or at least a counterclaim to Russia’s Vodka Museum that opened in 2001 and claims Russia is the birthplace of the spirit.
You can see the Polish side of the debate for yourself through the five room tour at the Muzeum Polskiej Wódki every day of the week for around $10.