Tasting Video #14


Tony Jimenez is back! He was so great I had to taste two bottles with him. Tony loves all things cherry. But will he love Bottle #47: Polmos Wisniak,  a 40-year old cherry liqueur? We find out.

Prefer to read than watch? Check out the transcript under the video.



Tony: Okay, so it’s like coquito, but like for Eastern Europeans, with cherries.

Tammy: Yeah, exactly.

After Opening

Tammy: Hello and welcome to My Tiny Bottles, the project where I’m exploring my grandmother’s legacy of miniature liquor bottles, one tiny bottle at a time. I’m your host, Tammy Coxen.

Tammy: I am back at One Tippling Place in Philadelphia with Tony Jimenez. Thank you, Tony.

Tony: Hi, thank you for having me back. Hi, everybody.

Tammy: So, when I asked you from the list of bottles what you wanted to taste, you told me weird things were good, but you also mentioned this bottle, specifically.

Tony: Yes. I’m a big fan of cherries, like, cherry liqueurs, cherry bitters, cherry cocktails, cherry desserts.

Tammy: And I’m going to interject to say that the bottle is Polmos Polish Cherry Wisniak. So, go on.

Tony: So if you have anything cherry I’m down to try it. And it turns out the label is also beautiful and I’m excited to find out about it.

Tammy: Right, you hadn’t seen it yet.

Tony: No, I had not!

Tammy: As soon as I brought it in you were like “Oh, that’s a beautiful label!”

Tony: I would frame that. It looks nice! It’s just beautiful artwork, it draws you in, especially with the contrast of the dark liquor

Tammy: White rearing horse… It’s pretty impressive!

Tammy: So this is an example, so it’s Wisniak, which is a style. And when I, googled it to start researching it, you just come up with dozens of recipes.

Tammy: Because what this is something that I’ve since discovered, I think exists in any place in the world that grows cherries. So, you take cherries in the summer when they’re in season, put them in some kind of alcohol with sugar, and then let it sit. And usually the instructions will say open at Christmas or Thanksgiving if you’re in North America or if you’re an Eastern European Jew it’ll say open up the high holidays, which are in the fall, right?

Tammy: So the idea is to put this away, let it sit for at least 3 months and then open it up at a time you want to celebrate and bring back those flavors of the season.

Tony: So it’s like a holiday thing. It’s like coquito, but for Eastern Europeans with cherries.

Tammy: Yeah, exactly. I guess no cherries growing in Puerto Rico.

Tony: Not a lot in the tropical islands, no no.

Tammy: Coquito, is that a big deal in your family?

Tony: Yeah, all over the island. It’s just big.  We make it… I did have a cherry flavored coquito once which was pretty tasty.

Tammy: It’s like a perfect mashup.

Tony: Yes.

Tammy: So we are tasting this between Christmas and New Year’s. This episode won’t air for a couple of months, but I thought this was a good, you know, festive occasion to taste what is considered to be a festive product.

Tony: Perfect.

Tammy: So the other things people will tell you about Wisniak is that it “lasts forever.” And this bottle, I can tell from the tax strip, which is like falling off, is from between 1983 and 1985. So if forever includes 40 years, then this could be really good.

Tony: I’m excited.

Tammy: You have high hopes.

Tony: I have high hopes, especially considering you mentioned the company is still in existence

Tammy: So that’s a little weird. So the label, this exact label, the rearing white horse is still around. But it’s… so Polmos which is the brand name of this one, was the Polish liquor monopoly under communism. And so in 1989 they split it up and they parceled this off to a bunch of other companies. So you got the vodka and you got the wisniak and you got the schnapps or whatever, right?

Tammy: And so the company that got this is called Stawski. And they’re the ones who make the one with the white horse label now. So they got the recipe, they got the rights to the label and all that.

Tammy (to viewers): That’s my understanding. If you know more about Polish liquor history, tell me all about it.

Tammy: Okay, so we going in?

Tony: Let’s go.

Tammy: Alright. You want to do the pouring this time?

Tony: Of course.

Tony holds bottle while Tammy struggles to get the top off.

Tony: What’s going on?

Tammy: Oh no. It’s another one of those bottles. Getting the tops off turns out to be the hardest part of this. All right, I’m gonna give you a go. We might have to get tools. And it’s so fun to actually open them live on camera, but every time something goes wrong…

Tammy: Did you do it? He did it. The professional here. That’s what happens when you invite a professional.

Tony: It’s the only reason I was brought in. Just to open the bottle.

Tammy: Absolutely.

Tammy (as Tony pours): Well, it is red and syrupy.

Tammy: I chose punch cups from your amazing collection of vintage random glassware. I chose punch cups because I thought it felt festive for the season.

Tony: Well, cherry and punch always goes well. (smelling) Oooh.

Tammy: What do you got?

Tony: Not a lot on the nose right now.

Tammy: I get kind of like caramely, raisiny, fruity. I would not say cherry. Reminds me a lot of the mead that I tasted, the Polish mead that I had. Bunch of episodes ago now.

Tony: But no, but I get that. It smells oddly enough a little bit of honey in there.

Tammy: Now that’s interesting. Might be sweetened with honey.

Tammy: Also, I think, just like, you know, it is 40 years old, right? So, it’s going to have some oxidation, some caramelization. I tasted the mead with somebody who talked about cordialization as something that happens with mead, which is like that it introduces these kinds of oxidized flavors and…

Tony: Hmmm.

Tammy: Smells old. Right? Like that’s what it smells like to me. It’s like, if you buy a bottle of liquor and you have it in your liquor cabinet. And how many recipes call for apricot liqueur? And so 15 years later you pull it out and you’re like…

Tony: It smells…

Tammy: it doesn’t smell quite right. It’s not quite right. That’s what this reminds me of. But maybe it will taste better.

Tony: Let’s find out.

Tammy: Let’s find out.

Tammy: Mmm.

Tammy: Definitely cherry on the palette.

Tony (smiling) I like that.

Tammy: Yeah, you look happy.

Tony (still smiling): I like that.

Tony: It, it reminds me a little bit of Cherry Heering.

Tammy: Yeah, totally

Tony: But less sugar content, like less syrupy even though it is syrupy.

Tammy: Yeah, it’s definitely syrupy. Yeah, Cherry Heering is a really good call on that.

Tony: Yeah, I’m getting cherry initially, like a little bit of the sour cherry, and it goes into a sweet cherry at the end

Tammy: Yeah, yeah, that’s it. I guessed what surprised me is how bright it is, given how much it just smelled kind of like…

Tony: Old and caramely.

Tammy: That first sip is really bright cherry.

Tony: Yeah. And it’s very bright especially for, like, the darkness and the viscosity that you see in the glass.

Tammy: I mean it’s brown. It looks kind of like balsamic vinegar.

Tony: A little bit.

Tammy: It almost has some of that same acid level as a balsamic vinegar, right? If it was like a cherry balsamic.

Tony: You could just cut this with white wine vinegar and then immediately you got some, like, cherry balsamic in a way.

Tammy: Yeah.

Tammy: That was actually really good.

Tony: And you said that they said that this would last forever.

Tammy: It’s just that every recipe you find for cherry bounce, that’s what it’s called when you make it in the US, Wisniak there, right? Every recipe for that just says keeps forever. But like I don’t think they have 40 years in mind.

Tony: Well, it works.

Tammy: So, what would you do with this? Would you drink it straight? Would you mix with it? Would you think about using it in that Cherry Heering context?

Tony: So, I might not use it in a Cherry Heering context, but I might use it as just like a modifier for something that I already liked, and just adding, just like that one extra level. So maybe take a quarter ounce off the vermouth in a Manhattan and putting that in there. Throwing half an ounce in a mint julep…

Tammy: Ooh, I like that idea.

Tony: Like, I can go either way with it. It’s more like, you find the right base and like it’ll go really well. Like I think of rye would go really well with the spices, just do like a spiced cherry drink right there.

Tammy: Mm-hmm.

Tony: Yeah, it’s very interesting to see how something so old can stand up so well.

Tammy: And I think that’s like the sugar to a certain extent and maybe the acid and yeah, I don’t know.

Tony: And the glass bottle.

Tammy: It’s 40 proof. So it’s only 20% ABV.

Tony: Yeah.

Tammy But glass bottles help a lot and this one had like a little paper seal, you know, so it didn’t have a lot of evaporation. That’s great.

Tammy (handing Tony the bottle): Well, Tony, you got to play around with this as much as you like. Because the way this works is that I always give my tasters the bottles. Because the reason that I started this project is I did not want to own 300 to 400 miniature bottles. But I do want to taste them all. So now you get to own that one.

Tony: Thank you so much.

Tammy: Drink it on its own, mix it into things. Just tell me all about it.

Tony: Yeah, this will be gone before the year ends and I will make sure to enjoy it with fellow geeky friends.

Tammy: Excellent. That’s what it’s all about.

Tammy: Well, if you want to taste a bottle, hit me up at mytinybottles.com or on any of my social media at @mytinybottles. And if they want to find you Tony, and maybe find out what you did with this, where do they look for that?

Tony: Yeah I’m at Instagram at @tonyholdscamera. Any questions about cocktails or spirits – if I don’t know I’m sure I have a very talented friend who does and I’ll get you the information.

Tammy: Awesome. Well thank you so much for hosting me for tasting.

Both (clinking glasses): Salut!


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