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Sbiten - A Traditional Russian Winter Drink

Russian drink Sbiten

Sbiten is a traditional winter drink with honey, popular in Russia, which dates back to the 12th century. In the 19th century, interest in it declined due to tea and coffee coming in, but today interest in this ancient drink is returning.

Like Mead, Sbiten is a drink made from honey, water, spices and jam. Sbiten can be alcoholic by adding wine to it and it can also be non-alcoholic. The key is high quality honey and spices.

As it might be expected, the ratios of these ingredients depend on the family that makes the drink. Some add red wine, vodka or brandy to the main ingredients to make the drink stronger.

There are many recipes for Sbiten. The ratio of jam in this recipe is higher than honey, while in other recipes you will find up to 2 cups of honey and only 2 tablespoons of jam.

Ingredients:

Sbiten

honey - 1/2 cup

cloves - 1 tablespoon

cinnamon - 3 sticks

ginger - 1 teaspoon

blackberry jam - 1 lb (450 g)

water - 10 1/4 glasses (or red wine)

nutmeg - 1/4 teaspoon

mint - 1 leaf (optional)

dried hot peppers - 2 pcs. (optional)

How to prepare:

In a medium-sized pot, combine the honey, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, blackberry jam, water or wine, nutmeg, mint and hot peppers (optional). Heat over medium heat, while making sure to stir often, until the honey and jam have completely dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat.

Allow the drink to reach room temperature. Strain the liquid through a cheesecloth, press the solid sustances and transfer it into an airtight container or bottle. One 750 ml bottle should be enough. Store it in the refrigerator.

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