A variety of nalewkas in various stages of preparation.

Nalewka (IPA: [nalɛfka]) is a traditional Polish category of alcoholic beverage.[1] Similar to medicinal tinctures,[2] it is usually 40 to 45% strong (though some could be as strong as 75%)[3], and is made by maceration of various ingredients in alcohol, usually vodka or spirit. Among the ingredients often used are fruits, herbs, spice, sugar or molasses.[2] The name nalewka is currently being registered for national appellation within the European Union.[4][2] Contrary to ordinary liqueurs, nalewkas are usually aged.[4][5]

The name is also misleadingly used for a variety of alcoholic cocktails sold in Poland, usually of low quality and low content of alcohol (not greater than 18%). It could also be confused with its false friend cognate, Eastern European nalivka (Russian, Ukrainian: наливка), popular in Russia at least since 19th century,[6][7] yet much weaker (usually containing not more than 18-20% of alcohol), not aged,[8] and containing citric acid as one of the main ingredients.[9] The proper name for a Russian analogue of a Polish nalewka would be nastoika (Russian: настойка, Ukrainian: настоянка, literally, tincture).[10]



The colour of coffee-based nalewka after three years of aging, half of that time in a wooden barrel.

Most nalewkas have their proper name derived either from their main ingredient or from the name of their traditional place of production. The recipes for nalewkas were at times kept secret by some of the szlachta families, and they were only given to the senior children upon the death of the father.[2] Common ingredients of nalewkas are fruits, herbs, spices, coffee, honey, sugar, and molasses. Some examples of ingredients:


1.^ Technically some varieties of gin are also nalewkas.[3]


  1. ^ (Polish) Lucyna Ćwierczakiewiczowa (1858). Jedyne praktyczne przepisy.... Warsaw, Gebethner i Wolff. p. 264. ISBN 83-7386-071-1 (reed.). 
  2. ^ a b c d (Polish) Jan Rogala (2003). Nalewki zdrowotne, czyli 102 przepisy na alkohol który wspomaga organizm. Warsaw, Baobab. p. 108. ISBN 83-89642-00-X. 
  3. ^ a b (Polish) Grzegorz Russak. "Nalewki staropolskie – chluba przeszłości, nadzieja przyszłości". Krefeld: Polonia Świata. Retrieved 2006-07-10. 
  4. ^ a b (Polish) Zdzisław T. Nowicki (2002). Domowe piwa, cydry, wina, nalewki, likiery i kremy. Gdynia, Galion. p. 324. ISBN 83-909329-3-8. 
  5. ^ (Polish) Jan Makosiński (1911). Przepisy do przyrządzania wódek, rozolisów, rumów, araków, likierów, cognaców, esencyi ponczowych, krupników i grogu. Kraków-Kielce, Avis. p. 43. 
  6. ^ (English) John Frederick Erdmann (1825). "Manners and Customs of the Russians in the Government of Kasan". The cabinet of foreign voyages and travels. London: Treuttel & Würtz. pp. 81. 
  7. ^ (Russian) "Наливка". Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary. Leipzig-St. Petersburg: Brockhaus and Efron. 1890-1906. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  8. ^ (Russian) "Наливка". Great Soviet Encyclopedia (III ed.). Moscow: Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya. 1969-1978. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  9. ^ (Russian) "Наливка". Российский гуманитарный энциклопедический словарь. 2 (I ed.). St. Petersburg: Гуманитарный издательский центр ВЛАДОС. 2002. ISBN 5-8465-0021-8. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  10. ^ (Russian) "Настойка". Малый Академический Словарь русского языка. 2 (IV ed.). Moscow: RAS Linguistic Studies Institute, Poligrafresursy. 1999. Retrieved 2011-02-14. 

See also

External links

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