Experimental Poets and Buckwheat
If you are looking for a place that will take you back in time, come to Woda Ognista in Wilcza 8. Patryk Kowalski and Emil Oponowicz, co-owners and awarded bartenders, created a concept, which goes back to the 1920s and 1930s pre-war Warsaw. Each of their cocktail menus is based on the history and the seasonal and regional flavours of Poland. The autumn/winter cocktail menu is inspired by the famous restaurants and bars from the pre-War Warsaw. We especially liked a cocktail inspired by Mała Ziemiańska, the favourite café of the journalists and literary environment. Its base is a 12-year old whisky, cynar (Italian aperitif made of artichokes) buckwheat liqueur, and bitters. It is strong, bittersweet, and we appreciated that it is served with a typically Polish side – a bowl of roasted buckwheat groats.  If we had been in the 1920s, sitting in Mazowiecka street in the favourite bar of Skamander, a group of experimental poets including Tuwim, Słonimski, Iwaszkiewicz, and Lechoń, maybe we would have been raving with them about the life, the moment, the present. Raising with enthusiasm the glasses and holding bowls of buckwheat, we would have spoken neologism invented at another cocktail. Don’t forget about the food while at Woda Ognista. They serve an excellent tartare, which has a chance to go down in history of the 21st century Warsaw. The new year also sounds promising – Patryk and Emil said that they will look for inspiration for the new cocktail recipes in the old Warsaw newspapers. We feel that we will soon be coming back to Woda Ognista.

Woda Ognista, Wilcza 8, Warsaw 
Open Sunday-Wednesday 17.00-24.00; Thursday-Saturday 17.00-2.00
Zero waste at Cosmo
The recently opened bar at the Cosmopolitan skyscraper impressed us with the approach to the product. Monika and Tomek Roehr, the owners, who also own a bar in Mokotów – Bar Wieczorny, are concerned about ecology and food waste. At Cosmo, you will find biodegradable straws and napkins. We appreciated their zero waste approach and we especially liked that the citrus waste from Bar Wieczorny is later turned into syrups, cordials, and shrubs (a type of vinegar), which are used in Cosmo. The next cocktail menu will include another natural product called Verjus. It is a very acidic juice made of unripe grapes, which will  be an excellent alternative and a base for cocktails. The first cocktail menu is based on autumn fruits such as seaberry, rowanberry, quince or mulberry. We were especially into the blend of quince, whisky and Darjeeling tea. It was an interesting variation on whisky sour local style. Quince went perfectly with sour alcohol and oriental tones. We need to come back and try the rest of the cocktails.

COSMO – Twarda 4, Warsaw
Open Monday-Wednesday 17.00-24.00; Thursday-Saturday 17.00-1.00
Cordial, falernum, what would you like to drink?
Kita Koguta was one of the first concept cocktail bars in Warsaw. When it opened three years ago, it was unusual to enter a cocktail bar and have a bartender asking you about your favourite flavours before making your drink. This personal approach to the customers was initiated by Adam Grądziel and Jakub Kozłowski. We are glad that Kita Koguta decided to return to the classics, yet in modern form. We were captivated recently by Keep it Classy, a cocktail based on gin, lemon vermouth, elderflower cordial and a drop of chocolate olive oil. This reminded us of our first visit to Kita Koguta, when we were served an interesting type of gin with fresh cucumber tonic. Last year, Kita’s younger sister bar opened – Kiti Bar. It is inspired by the Tiki culture – the god of Polynesia. The prohibition years were especially tough in Polynesia; however, in 1933 the first Caribbean-style bars opened to help overcome the gloomy aura. Kiti serves strong citrus, spicy cocktails, based on homemade cordials and syrups. We especially recommend Falernum, a rum flavoured with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. There are only three companies in the world producing this alcohol, and Kiti creates its own version. It is a common cocktail base, so not surprisingly we were offered Caribbean Swizlle – falernum with fresh lemon juice, a drop of absinthe and dry tangerine peel essence. If you feel like a Caribbean party, we invite you to the bars in Krucza!

KITA KOGUTA and KITI BAR – Krucza 6/14, Warsaw
Open Tuesday-Thursday 18.00-24.00; Friday-Sunday 18.00-2.00
Open Monday-Thursday 18.00-2.00; Friday-Saturday 18.00-2.00
Kale with mezcal
The cocktail bar located in Teatralny Square is a place, where you can drink the eternal classics of the bartending scene. Tradition and history are significant elements of this bar – when you come inside you feel like you were in some elegant European museum. The Roots has a collection of historical items – the first edition of bartending manual The Bartender’s Guide created by the legendary Jerry Thomas, ancient shakers, coolers and jiggers. Comparison to a museum is no coincidence as the bar co-operates with the Museum of Vodka, located in the back of the building. Three gentlemen are responsible for the cocktail menu: Tomasz Małek, six time WFA world champion flair bartender, who looks for inspirations while travelling the world and brings new flavours to the bar in Wierzbowa. Stanisław Zachariasz, who started the collection of various rare strong alcohols. And finally, Arnold Skiba, whose biggest passion is to explore Polish herbs and roots which are used in the new cocktail recipes. Apart from 200 years history of bartending and all the drinks that that were mixed in that period, you will find a seasonal cocktail menu for all the seasons of the year. During our visit, we had the last chance to drink from the autumn menu. We were served two completely different cocktails. Puszcza Białowieska (Białowieża Forest), a żubrówka-based cocktail with mezcal, kale, lime, tea bitters and a little bit of lemon syrup, and Polska Róża (Polish Rose), based on Tanqueray no. 10, liqueur, rose jam, grapefruit, lime and lavender. The latter was served with cotton candy and was an excellent dessert. The new year brought about seasonal novelties, we cannot wait!

THE ROOTS BAR AND MORE – Wierzbowa 11, Warsaw
Open Sunday-Tursday 18.00-24.00; Friday-Saturday 18.00-2.00
From Italy to Asia
We like concept bars which apart from fantastic food serve matching cocktails. Regina – the second restaurant created by a chef from Singapur Trisno Hamida, Kamila Mroczkowska, and Patrycja Jaskólska is just like that. You might know this team from MOD in Oleandrów 11. At Regina, you will find a funny mix of the food from New York streets of Little Italy and China Town. You will eat here pizza on characteristic thick, charred leopard crust, as well as wonton, excellent grilled eggplant or general Tso chicken. The person in charge of cocktails is a woman – finally! Ewa Nowicka, just like in the food menu, tries to mix  Asian and European flavours. Many times after finishing the dinner upstairs, we would go down to sit at the bar for a while The bestseller cocktails of 2017 are: Pornstar Bellini, Gusto Italiano, Pink Sour and Penicylyne. We recommend Pornstar Bellini as aperitif, it is fizzy and has a pleasent taste of passion fruit. Gusto Italiano stole our hearts. It might seem like a drink for connoisseurs of dry flavours but it goes perfectly with food. And finally, the splendid Mezcal Sour! Simple, classy and unpretentious. Regina wins us over with its simplicity. We just like to pop there for a drink.

REGINA BAR – Koszykowa 1, Warsaw
Open Sunday-Monday 12.00-22.00; Tuesday-Saturday 12.00-24.00
Text and photos: Dagmara Rosiak (Głodna Daga)

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