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Kombucha, Kompot and Kvass

Kombucha, Kompot and Kvass

Valentina and Victor have been making classic russian drinks for as long as I can remember, and now they have brought them to the banya. Kvass, Kompot, and Kombucha, are favourites at the bathhouse, yet we still get many questions about what these drinks are and how they are made. Hopefully this post will clear some things up.

Kvass

Kvass is considered the national folk drink of Russia, and appropriately has been around as early as the 8th century. This slightly fermented beverage is Bathhouse favourite. The process of brewing kvass involves fermenting bread for a month or so, then adding some essentials such as raisons and sugar. The result is a delicious, slightly fizzy, sweet-sour beverage. Not only is kvass great on its own, but it’s also used in many Russian cold soups. We use our homemade kvass in okroshka, a cold soup we offer at our restaurant.

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Kombucha

Kombucha, or чайный гриб (tea mushroom), is a drink made from fermented black, green or herbal tea. Certain bacterial cultures are added to the tea, along with sugar. The bacteria feed off of this sugar, in turn fermenting it, and creating a very unique, slightly fizzy drink. Kombucha originates from China but has been very popular in Russia since its spread during the beginning of the twentieth century. It was especially popular during the Soviet era, as many families grew Kombucha in their homes as a sort of healthy alternative to soda pop. Our family was no exception, and we have brought this tradition to the South Western Bathhouse.

Kompot

Kompot is Valentina’s speciality. This is a sweet fruity drink that is great for the kids. It’s made by cooking peaches, apricots, cherries, and other fruit in boiling sugar water. This process preserves the fruit as well as draws out all the juice into the sugar water, giving the water a beautiful colour. The fruit is sealed in air tight glass jars and after a cool down period of several days the kompot is ready for drinking. This was a very popular folk recipe in Russia as many people in villages did not have fridges and relied on preserves they stored in cellars for a lot of their sustenance.

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