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What strong drinks did they drink in Russia before they came up with vodka?
What strong drinks did they drink in Russia before they came up with vodka?

Russians have always been able to celebrate on a grand scale - good, and there have been enough celebrations at all times in Russia. And what fun is it without drinks that liberate and relax body and soul? Despite the fact that vodka was invented in Russia only in the 16th century, the Slavs have been preparing and drinking a variety of alcohol since ancient times. The recipes of many primordially Russian intoxicating drinks have already been forgotten, or they have simply been replaced by modern "fashionable" alcoholic beverages. But such drinks could once again highlight the diversity of the national cuisine. Which, without exaggeration, is considered almost the hallmark of the originality of Russian culture.

Goodness should not be lost

In the central regions of Russia, since ancient times, in early spring, it has been practiced to collect birch sap. The Slavs have long noticed that this drink has a tonic, tonic and even healing effect. Once the birch sap, collected in large wooden barrels, fermented. And the thrifty peasant regretted immediately pouring out the spoiled product, preferring to try it first. To his surprise, the man discovered that such juice has a heady effect.

Fermented birch sap was one of the favorite alcoholic beverages in Russia

This is how one of the first alcoholic beverages appeared among the Slavs, which was given the name “drunken birch”. Thanks to the natural “raw materials” used in the manufacture of this alcohol, the birch tree was soft. To speed up the fermentation process, a variety of fruits were added to birch sap. This made the taste of birch trees even more pleasant and refreshing.

Two different honeys

Since ancient times, honey has been one of the most “multifunctional” products in Russian cuisine. In addition to using it as a dessert or a natural sweetener for various dishes, tonic soft drinks were made from honey. And over time, they learned how to make alcohol. The first who began to produce "intoxicating drink" from honey in Russia were bee keepers. At the same time, they made honey in two ways: they boiled it or insisted.

In Russia, intoxicated honey was a traditional alcoholic drink

In the first case, a drink of rather low quality was obtained. When boiling honey, both fruits and spices were added to it. The second method was more time-consuming: fresh berry juice was added to the barrels with honey and then the contents were left to “ripen” for several decades. The final product was distinguished by its high taste, and could also be stored for 25-30 years.

Berry-honey "drink"

One of the ancient Russian alcoholic beverages, the recipe of which the experts managed to restore, was cherry. It is not difficult to guess from the name that this alcohol was prepared from cherries. The berries were washed and filled in large oak barrels, which were then poured with honey. Then all containers were tightly sealed and left in a dark cool place for 3 months for fermentation.

Cherry in Russia was made from honey and cherries

Despite the fact that the preparation of cherries took a very long time, this alcoholic drink was very popular in Russia. And not only because of its excellent taste. Cherry could be stored for a very long time. At the same time, not only does it not spoil, but even becomes even stronger and tastier over time.

Almost like beer

One of the first Russian intoxicating drinks, which were made without traditional alcoholic distillation, was "ol", or "olus".The first mentions of this alcohol date back to the beginning of the XIII century. There was also described the technology of cooking olus. It was brewed in much the same way as modern beer is brewed.

Olus was brewed in Russia in the same way as beer

With the difference that, along with hops, aromatic herbs were required ingredients. Such, for example, as wormwood. The ol 'shelf life was short - about 2-3 days. Therefore, it was often cooked on the eve of the celebration. Before drinking, this drink, like modern beer, was usually chilled.

Alcohol comes from the Bible

In the days of ancient Russia, another very popular alcoholic drink among the people was a wine-like “strong drink”. However, if you take the name, then this alcohol can hardly be called primordially Russian - after all, the mention of this drink is found in the Bible.

The alcoholic drink of strong drink is mentioned in the Bible

However, “Russian” differed from the biblical strong drink in its ingredients: for the preparation of this “drink”, in addition to fruit juice and honey, kvass was also added in Russia. The result was a drink that tasted like boiled honey, but was stronger and richer. Like the olus, they preferred to eat the drink chilled.

An alcoholic drink of the noble aristocracy

An alcoholic drink called "lampopo" was very popular among wealthy Russian nobles in the 15th century. If you figure it out correctly, then it was not a separate alcoholic drink, but was in fact one of the first alcoholic cocktails. The name itself is an anagram of the Russian word "in half", which is the best way to indicate the way it was prepared. The “classic” lampopo was prepared by steeping a mixture of beer and rum on sweet and sour bread.

The lampopo drink was popular only among wealthy nobles

However, many lovers of this drink often introduced a lot of amendments to its recipe by adding other ingredients. Such as lemon juice or zest, molasses, sugar and cinnamon. These ingredients at that time were available only to wealthy nobles. This largely explains the fact that lampopo was not popular with the common people.

The predecessor of vodka

One of the standards of the alcoholic strength of Russian vodka is called “polugar”. However, few people know that before the appearance of "little white" it was the name of an independent alcoholic beverage. At the beginning of the 15th century, the half-bar was also popularly called “bread wine”. This drink was prepared, just like vodka, by fermentation followed by distillation. The alcoholic strength of the finished semi-lager was approximately 36-38%.

The predecessor of Russian vodka was a half-bar

In contrast to vodka, which was invented a century later, the semugar had a peculiar bread flavor that was much more pronounced. Yes, and the shade of the half-bar had a peculiar, reminiscent more of whiskey or cognac.

After the invention of vodka, most of the primordially Russian alcoholic beverages were unfairly forgotten. And in vain. After all, they are an integral part of the history of the people, their way of life, traditions and age-old customs. And no one will even argue that their originality and diversity could definitely complement the “wine list” of any Russian restaurant.

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