Review: ZU Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka

No lie: The provenance of “Zubrowka” is confusing. Several bison grass vodkas are on the market, and they all call themselves Zubrowka, which is the generic Polish term for the spirit. If you go looking for a brand name, you’ll find it, usually buried or hidden behind the Zubrowka label. It’s the equivalent of Jack Daniel’s putting WHISKEY in giant type and its own brand name on the back of the bottle.

ZU is Remy Cointreau’s import of this spirit, and in keeping with the rest of the market, Zubrowka is much easier to see: The large “ZU” is obscured behind a giant bison on the label.

No matter, now that we know what we’re dealing with — Polish grain vodka, flavored with bison grass (read here for backstory) — we can get to the business at hand.

ZU is light yellow in color (artificial yellow color is added), and the nose, as with Bak’s, offers citrus, herbs, and distinct pistachio character. The pistachio is stronger on the palate, but ZU offers a pleasant sweetness that comes across less like pistachio nut and more like pistachio ice cream. Not harsh, it’s creamy, with a lasting, lemony sweet finish. This is a vodka that grows on you, and I even find it pleasant as a sipper, with many possibilities in cocktails, too.

80 proof.

A- / $27 / zubrowka.com

zu zubrowka Review: ZU Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka

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7 Responses to Review: ZU Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka

  1. Zane Lamprey talked about this on Three Sheets. When they filmed the episode it was supposedly illegal in the states. Is that not the case anymore, or have you slipped into the seedy underworld of booze-smuggling?

  2. It’s no longer legal here (a la Absinthe)… I think it’s been reformulated too to eliminate any worries within. Certainly tastes harmless…

  3. Hey !
    Zubrowka was always OK and never had substances like Absinthe. It is normal falvoured vodka – legal one !

    And as other Polish vodkas is really good !

  4. Ah, finally, my favourite vodka makes it on drinkhacker! :)

    Personally, I’ve always drink this vodka directly from the freezer or with apple juice.

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  7. I have been waiting about 6 years for *this* company to finally import Zubrowka to the States. Oh happy day when I finally found it at my local Total Wine.

    Zubrowka was, and still is, illegal to import. The bison grass does contain trace amounts of coumarin, which the FDA & ATF don’t like us to import (even though it’s also present in cinnamon).

    While Remy imports it, this is the US-rebranded version of the original produced in Poland by Polmos Bia?ystok. They finally reformulated the beverage to remove the coumarin, but had to market it under a different trademark, thus ZU. While other “bison grass” vodkas exist, Zubrowka from Polmos is the original, and this ZU is as close as you can get in the US.

    And yes, if you know the original, this does seem like it’s missing something. But it is still as smooth, sweet and great with apple juice as you said.

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