Being the face of a nation’s worth of vodka ain’t easy, but it’s necessary. Maciek Starosolski is the Polish Vodka Ambassador and the Global Brand Ambassador for Luksusowa Vodka – he visited Toronto earlier this week to soak in the scene, promote the brand and indulge in a few cocktails along the way.
As the Polish Vodka Ambassador, his job isn’t as dreamy and carefree as one might imagine. He represents several vodka brands, including Luksusowa, frequently engages in tastings and presentations, and shares his knowledge of cocktail construction with bartenders and spirits enthusiasts. On second thought, maybe it is as palatably perfect as one might imagine.
“[Being the Polish Vodka Ambassador] has allowed me to fulfill a dream, and realize one of my greatest passions,” Starosolski exclaims. “I enjoy having the opportunity to share my love, passion and experience with people who have an appreciation of fine spirits and cocktails.”
One, of course, needs to have a certain level of expertise in order to represent such an array of brands and the spirit that defines a country like Poland. Starosolski has spent over 15 years working in the spirits industry with a good portion of it on the other side of the bar. After enjoying much success running the bar at the Sanderson Hotel in London, he decided to make the move back to Poland in order to infuse the other side of the industry into his CV.
“With a lot of luck and help from others, I managed to get my dream job as Vodka Ambassador for Pernod Ricard Poland,” he proudly states.
Aside from being from Poland (where one’s love for vodka is essentially innate) Starosolski lauds the clean spirit for its ability to blend seamlessly with other alcohols.
“Vodka is one of the spirits that allows people to really use their imagination. As a versatile base for cocktails, it lets people be creative and innovative with their own recipes,” he explains.
Finding great growth in the consumption and understanding of the spirit in Canada, Starosolski anticipates great things from the vodka consuming and cocktailing consortium around Toronto.
“What’s changed in the [Canadian] landscape is that bartenders now have a solid understanding of both the backbone and DNA of spirits,” he says. “They know how to use different vodka such as Luksusowa to construct certain cocktails and make use of the brands character and taste profile.”
Describing Luksusowa as clean, creamy and slightly sweet, he prefers it in a dry martini stirred with a large cube of ice and garnished with grapefruit zest.
“A vodka sour is another one of me favourites, as well as a Bloody Mary in the morning,” he continues. “Overall, it depends on the time of day, location and the people you have around you in choosing the perfect vodka.”
Well, Mr. Ambassador, considering you’re in Canada now, you best be getting on the Caesar train before you bounce. Extra spicy, maybe with some horseradish, a nice pickled bean and some beef jerky. Then we can say, see ya later, eh!