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Kvass: Russia’s Beverage of Choice

1. October 2009 by Daniel 0 Comments

You’re heard of vodka and beer, but have you heard of kvass?

A fermented beverage made from black or rye bread, kvass is a staple of Russian culinary delights. It is highly popular throughout Russia and the CIS countries, where it is often sold on the streets from mobile tanks that carry the beverage.

Kvass contains a low amount of alcohol – approximately .05 - 1.44 percent – and thus is considered safe for even children to consume. It is also often flavored with various fruits, berries and herbs.

The drink has a long history in Eastern Europe, having been consumed for thousands of years by all social classes of people. However, it evolved into a particular favorite of working class citizens during the 19th century.

Today, kvass remains a highly popular drink and is manufactured commercially. Recent years have seen American soft drink giants like Coca Cola and Pepsi looking to capitalize on the beverage’s popularity, much to the chagrin of Russian kvass companies. Still, kvass is even popular as a homemade drink, with various recipes widely available.