I am not usually a big Friday night drinker but I did find myself at Borsch, Vodka and Tears on a Friday night after innocently attending a pop-up craft market at Prahran Town Hall. I do love a pop-up market. Anyhoo, I have always wanted to try this cosy, intimate Polish bar and this was the perfect time to do it. Arriving at 6pm afforded my companion and I what I predict is a rare opportunity to sit up at the bar and be part of the action. This seating position provided us a lot of entertainment and education but it was also our undoing.
Once you are seated you are given what I believe is the equivalent of the Encyclopedia Britannica of vodkas. After a significant amount of flicking helplessly through the bible we finally sought guidance from our waitress. I had a hankering for something clean and not sugary; the Zozworówka Starzyka was just the right choice with its fresh ginger infusion and 3 times distilled mountain water why wouldn’t it be. Once you’ve selected your vodka you choose what to have it with, I went with soda water and lime, a very smooth way to ease into Friday night. My friend equally enjoyed a few wild cherry and forest fruits Wisniowa Luksusowas with soda.
To celebrate the delayed arrival of our hard working friend we thought we would kick it up a notch. After all it was 7pm and we had to be at a 5km time trial run at 7:45am tomorrow. Our 2 drink maximum plan was instantly jeopardized when we saw a tray full of six of the cutest little shot glasses you have ever seen. Our bar tender let us know that they are specifically hand made in Poland and shipped directly to BVT. I was sold. Turns out that the contents of the shot glasses destined for another table of Friday night non-drinkers was the equivalent of Polish moonshine. Well, alrighty then, let’s get some of that. After some consideration our supremely wise bar tender selected for us a shot each of Piołunówka instead. The predecessor to absinthe, 50% alcohol and with a medicinal warmth to the throat not unlike Jagermeister, this was a great choice. The description is the menu reads thus: “Like Bad Judgment In A Bottle; If You Remember This Drink You Haven’t Really Drunk It” It’s fair to say that as predicted I had no recollection of what this vodka was called and had to rely on my receipt and some research skills to refresh my memory.
We were on a roll now and time to really chase away the winter chill. Enter the Polish Bitches. Unsurprisingly this menu item does stand out and our initial attraction to this blend of vodka, sour cherry syrup with Tabasco was reinforced when our bar tender guided us to this as our next shot complete with instructions on how far to tip our heads back to ensure that we finish with the sour cherry syrup; he has done this before.
At this point it was absolutely necessary to order some food, remember we do have to run in the morning. So potato blintzes it is but whilst they are being cooked we need a chaser for our last shot. Keeping with the winter warmer theme I go for the Moscow Mule a combo of chili vodka, fresh lime and ginger beer. My friends go for a refined alcoholic slushie (an oxymoron if ever there was one) featuring absinthe and a less intense grapefruit sobieski. We were not encouraged to get the Keith Richards, an absinthe and Benedictine concoction that is restricted to 3 per customer. We smashed our perfectly fried blintzes with dill and sour cream; in hindsight we should have ordered more. But it was time to go before we found ourselves in a lock in and forgetting all about that run.
Borsch, Vodka and Tears
173 Chapel St Windsor
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PS. We all made it to our run in the morning and clocked pretty good times too