Mysterious Russian drink

Ask any Russian expat what food and drinks they miss from home, and more often than not they’ll name birch sap.

This unique drink that has been one of the seasonal staples in Russia for many centuries and has recently been heavily promoted by the likes of Wholefoods as a new health fad.

And rightly so.

Birch sap is packed with vitamins and minerals. It is completely safe (that is, if you know where to take it) to drink unpasteurised. It doesn’t cause allergy and is often prescribed to children and expecting mums. It has been known to reduce swelling and puffiness.

Birch sap used to be a go-to drink for those looking to shed a few kilos due to its detoxifying qualities and low calorie count- only 22kcal per 100ml! It is also known to speed up metabolism.

There is nothing better than freshly sourced sap. However, if you feel adventurous, try making this traditional Russian drink called КВАС [kvahs]:

  • 1l birch sap
    Juice of half a lemon
    5g yeast
    1tsp honey or sugar

Mix well all the ingredients and pour into 1 or 2 bottles. Add 1-2 raisins into each bottle. Cloae the bottles and place them into a dark cool place. Kvahs will be ready to drink in a few days and can keep for up to four months.

Curious to try birch sap? Make your way to Wholefoods. We recently saw it in a number of smaller independent health stores. The majority of Russian/,Eastern European shops will stock it as well.

Happy tasting!

Interested to learn more? Check out our other posts on language and culture.

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