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    Let’s put some traditional alcoholic drinks made in Slavic countries along with short descriptions and pictures. @Perun can use the information to put up an article on the front page if he wishes.

    The drink Mead is probably the oldest alcoholic drink consumed by Slavs before western, eastern and southern Slavs went their separate ways.  Slavic med / miod  means both “honey” and drink “mead” derived from Proto-Indo-European word *médʰu (honey, fermented honey drink).

    Mead was popular in eastern Europe. In Poland it was known as miód pitny (drinkable honey). In Belarus – miadok, miedavucha. In Russia medovukha. In Ukraine – meducha.

    Modern commercially produced Medovukha is sold at the honey product shops , some cafes and restaurants in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Modern examples include bottled Medovukha sold at the “Russian Bistro” fast food outlets across Moscow, and tap Medovukha of different brands offered by a network of honey shops in St. Petersburg. The strength of the drink is around 6.5%.



    Krupnik is a traditional sweet alcoholic drink similar to a liqueur, based on grain spirit (usually vodka) and honey, popular in Poland. It was popular in Belarus in the past. Mass-produced versions of Krupnik consist of 40%-50% (80-100 proof) alcohol, but traditional versions will use 80% – 100% grain alcohol as the base. Honey, in particular clover honey, is the main ingredient to add sweetness, as well as up to 50 different herbs. There are many versions and some recipes are passed down through generations. The drink originated on the territories of present-day Belarus, which were at the time part of the larger Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

    Krupnik is a distant relative of the medovukha (Russian) or miodówka (Polish), a honey-made spirit popular in all Slavic countries.

    Legend has it that the recipe was created by the Benedictine monks at a monastery in Niaśviž (present-day Belarus) which was founded by Mikołaj Krzysztof “Sierotka” Radziwiłł. Known in Poland and Lithuania (includes territories of Belarus) at least since 16th century, it soon became popular among the szlachta of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. There are numerous recipes preserved to our times in countless diaries of the szlachta. Krupnik was also used as a common medicinal disinfectant to Polish soldiers in World War II.



    Starka maybe considered as Slavic whisky.

    Starka is a traditional dry vodka distilled from rye grain, currently produced only in Poland. Starka was a popular drink in Belarus in the past. Traditionally Starka is made from natural rye spirit and aged in oak barrels with small additions of linden-tree and apple-tree leaves. The methods of production are similar to those used in making whisky.

    Starka was known in Poland, Belarus and Lithuania at least since the 15th century, later in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and by the 17th century became one of the favourite drinks of the nobility of the Commonwealth and Sarmatist culture.

    Tradition had it that at a child’s birth, the father of the house poured large amounts of home-made spirits (approximately 75 proof) into an empty oak barrel, previously used to store wine (usually imported from Hungary). The barrel was then sealed with beeswax and buried, only to be dug out at the child’s wedding. The name itself stems from this process of aging and in 15th century Polish meant both the vodka type and an old woman. Alternatively the name is derived[citation needed] from the Lithuanian word “Starkus”, as production of Starka is associated[citation needed] with birth.

    In late 19th century various companies simplified the production process and adopted it to the needs of mass production by the Lwów-based Baczewski company. After the end of World War I, which put an end to foreign rule over former parts of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, starka remained one of the most popular spirits in both countries.

    Currently, Polmos Szczecin is the only company in Poland to produce Starka, and they offer it in all age classes, from 10 to 50 years old.

    Boris V.
    Boris V.

    @Sviatogor good idea! People could contribute more drinks so we could make a compilation of best of drinks for the front page! :)



    Krambambula is considered a national Belarusian drink. It was almost forgotten but recently won many fans in Belarus and other countries. Krambambula was popular among peasants, artisants, noble magnates and gentry in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Krambambula was not only considered as a drink for a fun feast but was also credited for medicinal properties.

    The name Krambambula traces its etymology from the German “krambambuli” – a beverage first prepared from the brandy and juniper in  in Danzig (Gdańsk). However, Belarusian Krambambula is a different alcoholic beverage. Every household was preparing Krambambula using its own recipe making some adjustment to the so-called basis for the drink : vodka, honey and spices. In 2000 Krambambula received a widespread recognition and now the drink is manufactured by “Belarusian PІTVO” company. There are many common names for the drink such as “Classic”, “Old Polish”, “Pine Nuts”, “Pepper” , “Panska” and other.



    Does anyone want to compile short paragraphs on Vodka, Rakija, Pivo ?



    Rakia is a fruit brandy popular all over the Balkans. It is usually presumed that its name comes from the Arabic word “araq” (meaning “condensation”, the final phase of distillation), which supposedly arrived on the Balkans together with the Ottomans, as even modern Turks have a similar-named drink – raki. However, some recent archaeological finds and researches suggest the history of rakia on the Balkans is quite a bit older than that. For example, a relatively recent archaeological find of a drinking cup from 14th century Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, features an inscription of someone boasting “I drank rakinja on the holiday”. Likewise, the Ottoman commander Lala Shahin, while besieging the city of Sofia, writes the following evidence that rakia was indeed used before the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans: “Inside the fortress there is a large and elite heathen army, whose soldiers are big, with moustaches and apparently well experienced in battles, but they have the habit of drinking wine and rakia – to put it short, they’re merry people.” And, indeed, archaeological discoveries of the so-called alembics, used in the distillation process, have been found on the Balkans dating since at least the X century AD. And while these earlier finds are generally rare and of a very high quality, rather suggesting alchemical purposes, since the XI-XII century alembics appear in much higher numbers and of a lesser quality, suggesting that they were now used also by the common population for more practical purposes, i.e. the production of alcoholic distillates.

    But, no matter the origin, rakia has eventually spread all over the Balkans and even beyond. Today it’s considered to be a national drink of nearly all Balkan countries and their most popular spirit beverage, with Serbia being the biggest producer and consumer per capita in the world. There are also many different kinds of rakia, since it can be made from almost any fruit imaginable. The most famous ones are made from plums (sljivovica in Serbian), grapes (grozdova or lozova), grape pomace, apricots or various other fruits, and can also be combined with additional flavours like herbs, honey, walnuts, anise etc. It can also be served warmed up (grejana rakija), especially in the cold winter months, although even in cold state its 40% alcohol by volume is usually enough to warm you up from the inside (note, though, that home-made rakias are usually stronger and can reach as high as 80-90%, which Bulgarians often call skorosmartnitsa – quick-death). The drink has became so popular in the region, that it’s used not only for medicinal purposes, but has even taken its place in some of the local religious rituals, despite the traditionally strong role of the wine in this area.

    Anything anyone has to add, correct or remove?
    And does pivo (i.e. beer) include ale (olovina in medieval Bulgaria) as well?



    >And does pivo (i.e. beer) include ale (olovina in medieval Bulgaria) as well?


    >although even in cold state its 40% alcohol by volume

    While 40% is optimal for most distilled alcohol beverages, 45% and even 50% works best for good Rakia. Beyond that it fries your taste buds

    P.S: the alcohol content of grejana is usually lower.




    Vodka is a distilled beverage composed primarily of water and ethanol, sometimes with traces of impurities and flavorings. Traditionally, vodka is made by the distillation of fermented cereal grains or potatoes, though some modern brands use other substances, such as fruits or sugar. Since the 1890s, the standard Polish, Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Czech vodkas are 40% alcohol by volume ABV (80 proof), a percentage that is widely misattributed to Dmitri Mendeleev. The European Union has established a minimum of 37.5% ABV for any “European vodka” to be named as such.Products sold as “vodka” in the United States must have a minimum alcohol content of 40%. Even with these loose restrictions, most vodka sold contains 40% ABV.
    Vodka is traditionally drunk neat (not mixed with any water, ice, or other mixer), though it is often served chilled in the vodka belt countries (Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine). It is also commonly used in cocktails and mixed drinks, such as the vodka martini, Cosmopolitan, vodka tonic, Screwdriver, Greyhound, Black or White Russian, and Bloody Mary.

    The name “vodka” is a diminutive form of the Slavic word voda (water), interpreted as little water: root вод- (vod-) [water] + -к- (-k-) (diminutive suffix, among other functions) + -a (postfix of feminine gender).

    The word “vodka” was recorded for the first time in 1405 in Akta Grodzkie, the court documents from the Palatinate of Sandomierz in Poland. At the time, the word vodka (wódka) referred to chemical compounds such as medicines and cosmetics’ cleansers, while the popular beverage was called gorzałka (from the Old Polish gorzeć meaning “to burn”), which is also the source of Ukrainian horilka (горілка) and Belarusian harelka (гарэлка). The word vodka written in Cyrillic appeared first in 1533.

    Scholars debate the beginnings of vodka. It is a contentious issue because very little historical material is available.The first production was either in Poland in the 8th century, or in the area of today’s Russia in the late 9th century according to different sources.] According to the Gin and Vodka Association (GVA), the first distillery was documented over three hundred years later at Khlynovsk as reported in the Vyatka Chronicle of 1174. According to William Pokhlebkin – the foremost expert on the history of Russian cuisine – the first vodka distillery was in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania on territories of present day Belarus. For many centuries, beverages differed significantly compared to the vodka of today, as the spirit at that time had a different flavour, colour and smell, and was originally used as medicine.

    The museum of vodka : http://vodkamuseum.ru/en/



    Nalewka/Nastoika. Maybe considered as Slavic liqueur.

    Nalewka is a traditional Polish category of alcoholic beverage. A similar drink existsin east Slavic countries known as Nastoika. East Slavic alcoholic drink Nalivka is a false friend of Polish Nalewka.
    The drink is usually 40 to 45% strong and is made by maceration of various ingredients in alcohol, usually vodka or neutral spirits. Among the ingredients often used are fruits, herbs, spice, sugar or molasses. The name nalewka is currently being registered for national appellation within the European Union. Unlike ordinary liqueurs, nalewkas are usually aged. Taste-wise, it is similar to apple and fruit-flavored brandies such as calvados or eau-de-vie (or Canadian maple syrup-infused whiskey), but is much sweeter, almost liqueur-like.
    Large well-stocked Russian bars feature hundreds of nastoikas, made by infusing various herbs (e.g., tarragon), vegetables (e.g., pepper, horseradish), fruits (e.g., lemon) and berries (e.g., cranberry) into vodka. For example, Stolichnaya exports 15 various nastoikas.
    Most nalewkas have their proper name derived either from their main ingredient or from the name of their traditional place of production. Common ingredients of nalewkas are fruits, herbs, spices, coffee, honey, sugar, and molasses. Some examples of ingredients:

    Anise (anyżówka)
    Apricots (morelówka)
    Blackcurrants (porzeczkówka)
    Cherries (wiśniówka)
    Common hawthorn (głogówka)
    Cornus mas (dereniówka)
    Ginger (imbirówka)
    Green Persian walnuts (orzechówka)
    Juniper (jałowcówka)1
    Wormwood (piołunówka)

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