As February unfolds, so does the cherished tradition of Paczki Day — a celebration that transcends borders, infusing communities with the sweet aromas of deep-fried pastries, and the joyous spirit of indulgence before the start of Lenten season. On Fat Tuesday, bakeshops, cafes, and bars break from the usual routine to provide metro Detroiters with classic and creative takes on the glutinous fried pastries to satisfy the doughnut-seeking public.
This year, Paczki Day falls on February 13, so be sure to mark your calendars. In this guide, we navigate the delectable landscape of Paczki Day festivities, with an emphasis on the intersection of the almighty paczek and booze — from exclusive vodka releases and craft beer collaborations to mouthwatering brunches and spirited gatherings.
Paczki Day Vodka, Detroit City Distillery
February 10 marks the day when Eastern Market comes alive with excitement, drawing a vibrant crowd to Riopelle Street to partake in a Detroit Paczki Day tradition: the release of Detroit City Distillery’s paczki-distilled vodka, beginning at 10 a.m. Distiller Steve Orzechowski skillfully distills the potato spirit with actual raspberry paczki from New Palace Bakery, available for purchase alongside other Polish delights from Hamtramck neighbor Srodek’s. This year, in addition to the classic raspberry flavor, DCD has also released a limited-edition version distilled with orange cream pączki, also sourced from New Palace Bakery. In addition, Faygo has provided supplies of its newest flavor creation, Dreamin’, for the makings of a special cocktail. The event is further amplified by local singer Jotown’s live performance and a block-long shot-ski return for communal toasting. For those unable to attend or from out of town, as of January 26, online sales for Paczki Day Vodka went live.
Paczki Beer, Eastern Marketing Brewing Co.
Eastern Market Brewing Co. has introduced new paczki flavors — cherry and lemon — brewed with real fruit and a generous dose of vanilla cream. These flavorful brews strike a nice balance between tart and sweet, reminiscent of paczki filling. The brewery will get in on the February 10 action with its neighbors at DCD, effectively transforming Riopelle into a giant block party. The brewery’s vegan doughnut brand, Dooped Donuts, will be on hand during the daylong festivities. The Kielbasa Kings will also take the stage from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., providing lively live music and hosting a paczki eating contest for those feeling particularly indulgent.
Supa Dupa Paczki Cream Ale Collaboration
Wyandotte Brewing Co., and Northern Wind Brewing Co. — an up and coming beer maker with plans to open a space in Wyandotte — have teamed up with Trenton stalwart, Elliott’s Bakery, to formulate Supa Dupa Paczki Cream Ale. Raspberry filling and 21 dozen plain paczki supplied by the bakery are used in the brewing process itself, so you can taste both the sweetness from the berry filling and the fried dough flavor.
Sin Repeat Repent, Griffin Claw Brewing Co.
This brewery’s limited edition Sin Repeat Repent paczki-flavored stout and vodka are now available through February 13, or while supplies last, at its Birmingham and Rochester Hills brew pubs. For this annual release, Griffin Claw works with Erica Pietrzyk, aka the Pierogi Queen/owner of Eastern Market’s Pietrzyk Pierogi, to supplythe dozens of raspberry paczki that are used in the brewing and distilling process.
Paczki Brunch and Fat Thursday
In February, Pietrzyk Pierogi is bringing the Paczki Day festivities to Ferndale’s Urbanrest not once but twice. On February 4, enjoy a paczki brunch featuring paczki waffles, traditional Polish plates, and pierogi. The brunch takes place from noon to 4 p.m. or until menu items sell out. On February 8, join the celebration of the traditional Fat Thursday, a more common festivity in Poland. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., savor the combination of pierogi, paczki, and beers. Paczki flavors for both events include raspberry, blueberry, lemon curd, vanilla custard, and Pietrzyk’s signature strawberry jalapeño filling.