Although it took until my second year living in Poland to discover Grzane Piwo (Polish hot beer), it’s safe to say I have a new favorite cold-weather drink.
I first learned about Grzane Piwo from a worker at the local Zabka, next to our house. When I contracted a common cold as the weather changed at the beginning of October (Polish weather turns quickly and harshly), the worker at Zabka suggested I try a “warm beer with honey.” I had drunk hot wine before (in both Belgium and my first season in Poland), but I had never drunk hot beer.
Although it sounded a little strange, I figured there had to be something behind it since he was adamant it is an excellent drink for when you are sick.
After my first mug of Grzane Piwo, I was hooked!
Keep reading below to learn my recipe for Polish hot beer, as well as a bit more about why it is a scientifically backed-drink for helping manage the common cold (for those who are old enough to consume alcohol, of course)!
My Grzane Piwo Recipe
The first time I tried Polish hot beer, I simply heated one beer in a pot and added a couple of spoonfuls of honey (or “miod” in Polish).
However, after doing a bit more research online and asking for more suggestions from my friend who works at the local Zabka, I advanced my recipe to contain a few other ingredients which make the drink a bit healthier and taste even better!
Along with honey and beer, I add additional spices which include:
Traditional Grzane Piwo does not include turmeric, but my wife and I decided to add it in a small amount because the taste is not significant, but turmeric contains substantial health benefits.
Along with the beer and the honey, you can also add fresh orange slices or fresh ginger as well. Both of these ingredients make your drink a bit healthier, and I love the taste!
If you don’t want to add individual spices, there are a few good “mulled spices” blends online which you can substitute instead. After doing some research, I believe your best option is The Spice Lab No. 210 Mulling Spice.
The Spice Lab No. 210 Mulling Spice is an all-natural, kosher, non-GMO, gluten-free combination of spices which mainly includes:
I personally use a specific “Grzane Piwo” mix which I can buy from the store here in Poland, and it is very convenient. If you would like to conveniently add your spices to your Grzane Piwo, The Spice Lab No. 210 Mulling Spice is only $29.95 and it will last you a long time!
How to Make Polish Hot Beer
Step 1.) Choose Your Beer and Heat It
The primary step to making great Grzane Piwo is choosing the right beer. I have tried this with a few different types of beer, but my current favorite is lager-style beers, such as Kozel.
Once you have chosen your beer, begin to heat it in a small pot on a medium temperature. I don’t like my Grzane Piwo to boil. Instead, I prefer to heat it slowly but steadily. Normally this takes about 10 minutes.
Step 2.) Add Honey
Once you have heated your beer for about 10 minutes, now it is time to add the honey. I usually add about two tablespoons of honey, but you can add more or less depending on your preferences.
After adding the honey, you want to let the beer continue to heat for about five more minutes.
Step 3.) Add Your Spices
After the honey has been added and “cooked” into the beer, now it is time to add your spices. You can use any of the spices listed above, or you can use all of them, depending on what you have available. Personally, I would say cinnamon is the most important for the taste you are trying to achieve.
You don’t want to overdo the spices, but add enough so that they make an impact! Let the spices “cook” in for another five minutes or so.
Step 4.) Fresh Orange and Ginger
The last step for your Grzane Piwo is adding some fresh orange or ginger slices, depending on what you prefer. You don’t need to add either of these, but they both make a significant impact on the health benefits of your drink as well as the taste.
Step 5.) Cool and Serve
Lastly, it is time to drink your Polish hot beer! I usually set my drink aside for a few minutes to let it cool a little in the pot before pouring it into my glass, but that isn’t necessary. I usually let it cool with the orange slices or ginger still in the pot, so that the flavor can soak in a bit more.
As soon as the drink has reached a “drinkable” temperature, enjoy!
You can also watch the video below to see a step-by-step visual presentation of how to make Grzane Piwo:
Health Benefits of Grzane Piwo (Polish Hot Beer)
To understand the health benefits of Grzane Piwo, we must look at each ingredient individually. Although the spices you include will also add some significant health benefits, I want to look at the two primary ingredients- beer and honey.
Many people believe that drinking beer is detrimental to your health. Although drinking too much of any alcohol is not healthy, drinking a moderate amount of beer has a few specific health benefits.
According to a study published in Beer in Health and Disease Prevention,
“Beer is a low-alcohol beverage brewed from natural ingredients and may contain appreciable amounts of bioactive compounds, mainly antioxidants, which are associated with health effects. Polyphenols and melanoidins are the major natural antioxidants in beer.”
Furthermore, according to a study published in Nutrition Research,
“beer can make a substantial contribution to the diet in respect of certain B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and perhaps fiber.”
Lastly, beer contains significant amounts of melatonin, which protects the body from stress. As stated by a study published in Clinical Nutrition,
“Melatonin present in the beer does contribute to the total antioxidative capability of human serum, and moderate beer consumption can protect the organism from overall oxidative stress.”
Along with those health properties of beer, there are numerous health benefits of honey, which is why it has been used around the world for thousands of years as a health product. According to a study published in the Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research,
“Honey is highly nutritious; it has traces of minerals and vitamins, not to mention the antioxidants which destroy free radicals and delay aging. In short, it is a safe and wholesome food for old, children and adults.”
Furthermore, according to a study on the use of honey in the Malay tradition which was published in the Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences,
“For centuries honey is known to be the enemy of diseases. It is used as anti-aging, it is able to give pleasure and enhance libido, enhancing immune system, kills bacteria, use in the treatment of bronchial catarrh, sore throat, coughs, and colds.”
When you combine these health benefits with the additional health benefits of your spices and fresh ginger or orange, you can clearly see why Grzane Piwo is a powerful health drink!