When in Russia: Drink Kvas, an Ultimate Russian Drink!

When in Russia: Drink Kvas, an Ultimate Russian Drink!
21 July 2014

“Bad kvas is better than good water”, at least according to a common Russian saying about this Russian drink. And if you’ve ever quenched your thirst on kvas, you might as well give some credit to Russian popular wisdom, since this sparkling and tart drink is very good indeed. Plus, if you are a foreigner like me, a good glass of kvas can give you the priceless sensation of going Russian all the way, Давай!!!

The origin of Kvas

The origins of this popular drink date back to the Middle ages, when the being a ‘kvasnik’ meant that you had a good job. The amount of alcohol in this drink obtained by the fermentation of bread varied greatly back then, even 11%! Today instead the alcohol is very little, making kvass a non alcoholic beverage according to Russian laws, and one that is considered suited also for children.

In Soviet times kvas was dispensed by cisterns placed in many corners of the streets, and you could go with your bottle to bring it home, or just consume a mug of it on the spot. This distribution system is no longer common, and the 90s have seen the introduction of Wester soft drinks like Coca-Cola or Pepsi. However kvas Russians feel (rightly) proud of their kvas and have not stopped drinking it, to the point that even Coca-Cola and Pepsi decided to enter the business of kvas.

Unfortunately the kvas that you can find nowadays in plastic bottles is not what it used to be. If you wanna try the real thing, the experts say, you have to go to some Russian restaurants that make their own kvas. For those of you in Piter, The Saint-Petersburg times advises these places for their kvas:

– Chekhov on the Petrograd side (4 Petropavlovskaya Ulitsa)
– Podvorye in Pavlovsk (16 Filtrovskoye Shosse) (here kvass is 4,5% alcoholic!)

If you happen to try them, do share your opinion!

This post was brought to you by Alessio, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz

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