Add to favorite
 
123
Subscribe to our Newsletters Subscribe to our Newsletters Get Daily Updates RSS


Russian Drinks What are They?
June 5, 2007 22:58


Russian Drinks. Calendar

The first thing that crosses one’s mind when speaking about Russian drinks is certainly vodka. Yet, as a matter of fact, long before vodka there were no less popular drinks in Old Rus. As for vodka, it came to Russia via Lithuania where it was brought by the Genoese from their colony in the Crimea. Actually it did not happen until the mid 14th century. So vodka is another story.

Initially these were only nonalcoholic liquids that were called drinks in Russia: they were invigorative and nourishing. Perhaps hence is the now archaic Russian expression translated as “to eat tea”.

The history of Russian beverages is rooted in hoary antiquity. Various kinds of rassol (brine), mors (berry or fruit drink), kvas, myod (drinking honey), vzvar (decoction), forest tea (of herbs and berries) have endured many centuries on their way to our table.

They are all different, each of them having its peculiar role and purpose.

 Some of them are good for their warming effect (such as spicy teas, myod, and sbiten’) and so were mainly used in wintertime, while others are splendid cooling tonics (birch sap, kvas, mors, and again teas) and are indispensable on a hot day; some are used for the purpose common for all strong drinks (beer, vodka, nastoyka (liqueur), and nalivka (fruit liqueur)), and others are of exceptional value as approved folk remedies mitigating the severe aftermath of immoderate vodka indulgence (these are cucumber and cabbage brines). However, Russian drinks have one common feature: always only natural raw stuff and high nutritional value. Some beverages are based on bread or flour, some on berry and fruit juices, and others on honey.

Mikhail Zabylin, the author of the book “Russian People” published in 1880 wrote that myod (honey beverage), a favorite Russian drink, was made so strong, that people got tight with it just like with wine.

 
 The historic chronicles read, that the Princess Olga on her visit to the Drevlyan tribe in 945 ordered the natives to make drinking honey for her. There existed a wide variety of honey drinks: cherry, currant, juniper, red, white treacly, raspberry, ramson, old, vernal, and cloves myod, as well as those particularly made for princes and boyars.

Kvas can be considered a national Russian drink along with honey beverages. The first record of kvas dates back to 989, remarkable as the year when the Kiev Prince Vladimir converted his homage to Christianity. The chronicle reports on this as follows: “To hand out food, myod and kvas to the folk”. Kvas was used in banyas (bath-houses) to increase the vapour, whereas sour kvass was poured over oneself for better health. Kvass was made of grains of different processing grades and even from turnip and water-melon. Sorts of kvas differed from each other depending on malt brand, and on flavouring, that could be honey or berries. They also brewed beer, which was made strong and had a variety of brands according to its colour and quality.

Perevar, vzvar, and sbiten were popular in the early 20th century. They were made of honey seasoned with hypericum, sage, laurel leaf, ginger and capsicum. The drinks were served warm.

Tea was for the first time brought from China as a present to the Moscow tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich in 1638, yet was not commonly adopted till the early 18th century. Eventually tea drinking ritual became as popular among all circles of Russian society as in the native land of the drink. The scenes of prolonged tea drinking ceremonies with the traditional samovar have been recorded in numerous works of literature, depicted in paintings by lots of Russian artists and folk decorative art. Nowadays, however, one can hardly find a samovar in a usual modern household.

At the same time many people today tend to turn back to the fragrant and salutary teas of forest and field herbs, that had been enjoyed by the Russians long before they adopted “the Chinese herb”, coffee and cacao. Old recipes are being recollected and revived today. You can find some exotic beverages (such as medovukha, sbiten, etc.) available in some Russian stores, or try and make the drinks on your own, following our unique authentic recipes!

READ MORE ARTICLES ABOUT RUSSIAN CUISINE...

 

    Sources:

    medovarnya.ru
    rushistory.ya1.ru


Tags: Russian Traditions Russian Cuisine    

Next Previous

You might also find interesting:

Halloween in Russia: How to Scare Baba-Yaga and Stay Alive National Russian Dress: Headgears The Most Unusual Names of the Russians Traditional Old Russian Wedding Victory Day 2018 in Moscow









Comment on our site


RSS   twitter      submit



TAGS:
Sports  Kuznetsk Basin  Russian economy  Russian army  Smolensk Oblast  Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia  Alexei Navalny  St. Petersburg  Tsaritsyno  Samara  Concerts  World Cleanup 2012  Russian Music Instruments  Russian National Parks  Indonesia  Russian tourism  Leningrad Center  Barnaul  Ruskeala Mountain Park  Bologoye  ecology  Russian Cinema  Valery Gergiev  Karachay-Cherkessia  investment  Rammstein  retail in Russia  Russian natural reserves  Tragedy  Russian culture  Mikhail Ulyanov  Moscow  Russian business  Exhibitions in Moscow  Alexandrinsky Theatre   Vyacheslav Novitchkov  Sochi Games   Moscow cinema  Pskov  Russian scientists  Vasily Sitnikov  Monuments of Moscow  Ultralight Trike Show  Vera Kostyurina  St. Petersburg Museums  Street Art  Russian science  Ostap Bender  Legal Services in Russia  racism in Russia 


Travel Blogs
Top Traveling Sites