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21 Popular & Iconic Russian Drinks You Have To Know & Try

Russia is Vodka; maybe that is what you think about the land of the White Bears.

The long tradition in Russian history has also resulted in a variety of drinks. What’s that?

Let’s take a look at the following brief review of the Russian drinks.

21. Samogon

iconic russian drinks
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Although Russia is very identic with Vodka, which is also its national drink.

However, if you travel outside the faraway city, Vodka is not really consumed and is replaced by another alcoholic drink, namely Samogon. The drink appeared in the 14th century.

20. Coffee Raf

russian beverages
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Coffee raf is a coffee-based drink that originates from a coffee shop in Moscow. The drink is made from Espresso shot, cream, and a combination of plain sugar and vanilla.

The ingredients are mixed and then steamed together until they are combined and thickened.

19. Birch Sap

russian beverages
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Birch sap or Birch juice is a sap that is tapped directly from birch trees, such as betula alba, betula pendula, betula lenta, betula papyrifera, and betula fontinalis.

The sap from the birch tree can be consumed either directly or from naturally fermented sap.

18. Russian Beer

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Russian Beer or Pivo, commonly written as пиво, is the second most popular alcoholic drink in the country after Vodka.

Russians categorize beer based on its color and not the fermentation process, such as Light, Red or Semi-Dark, and Dark.

17. Tarkhuna

russian beverages
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Tarkhuna or Tarkhun is a carbonated soft drink from Georgia that is popular in Russia.

The drink is made from the herbs tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) and woodruff (Galium odoratum). Tarkhuna were first made in Georgia in the 1889’s.

16. Russian Tea

russian drinks
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Tea has become a part of Russian culture. Generally, tea is served hot or cold with a sweet taste.

Traditionally black tea was the most popular tea in Russia, but green tea is also gaining popularity. One type of traditional tea is Russian Caravan.

15. Varenet

iconic russian drinks
image source: gastronom.ru

Varenet is a popular fermented milk product in Russia.

Literally varenet or варенец means ‘which is boiled‘ sometimes also called stewler or simmeler. Much like Ryazhenka, Verenet is made by adding smetana sour cream to baked milk.

14. Soviet Champagne

iconic russian drinks
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Soviet Champagne, or in Russian is Sovetskoye Sampanskoye, is a brand of sparkling wine that was previously produced in the Soviet Union and now in its fractional countries.

Soviet Champagne is usually made from a mixture of the Aligoté and Chardonnay grapes.

13. Russian Kompot

iconic russian drinks
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Russian Kompot or Russian stewed fruit is a traditional Russian dessert drink. Made from a combination of various kinds of fruit with a thick syrup.

Compote can be made from dried fruit, summer fruit, or made from berries.

12. Kagor

russian drinks
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Kagor is the name of a fortified wine made from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape varieties, saperavi, and local grapes on the Black Sea coast of the former Russian Empire, such as Crimea.

Its name comes from the French term, Cahors.

11. Krasnaya Polyana Balsam

iconic russian drinks
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Krasnaya Polyana Balsam is a traditional herbal liquor commonly referred to as Balsam by Eastern Europeans, including Russia.

The color is dark brown with an alcohol content of 45%, and the ingredients are made from a combination of 24 types of herbs, 8 types of fruit, and honey.

Other European drinks:

10. Ryazhenka

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Ryazhenka or Ryazhanka is a traditional fermented milk product in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

Ryazhenka is made from baked milk using a lactic acid fermented starter. Some sources say that Ryazhenka came from Ukraine.

9. Sbiten

iconic russian drinks
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Sbiten or in Russian is сбитень which is a traditional Russian hot drink that is usually served in winter.

Sbiten has a deep purple appearance and different flavors, depending on the recipe. It can taste very spicy or very sweet.

8. Tarasun

iconic russian drinks
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Tarasun or Soma is an alcoholic drink typical of the Buryats from Siberia, Russia.

Besides being the national drink of Buryatia, Tarasun is also often used in their religious ceremonies. Tarasun is to the Buryats like Whiskey in Scotland.

7. Kumis

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Kumis or қымыз is a Kefir-like dairy product popular among nomadic peoples of the steppes of Central Asia and including Russia, especially in Bashkiria and Kalmykia.

Kumis is traditionally made from fermented mare’s milk and donkey’s milk.

6. Kefir

iconic russian drinks
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Kefir or Kephir is a fermented milk drink that is somewhat similar to yogurt, and it is made from the inoculation of cow, goat, or lamb milk with kefir grains.

This drink comes from the North Caucasus region, Eastern Europe, mainly from Russia.

5. Medovukha

iconic russian drinks
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Medovukha is a Slavic honey liqueur that is very similar to Mead or honey wine.

Meduvukha is a honey-based liquor found in many ancient cultures. But compared to Mead, Medovukha is cheaper and more practical to make.

4. Kissel

russian drinks
image source: russia-travel-guide.com

Kissel is actually a thick, sweet fruit dish popular as a dessert in Central and Eastern Europe.

However, Kissel is also often served as a drink. It is made from sweet berry juice thickened with cornstarch or potato starch.

3. Mors

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Mors is a non-carbonated Russian drink made from berries, especially lingonberry and cranberry varieties.

Sometimes also use blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or sea buckthorn. Mors is made from a mixture of berries with sugar or syrup.

2. Vodka

iconic russian drinks
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Vodka, or what in Russian, is called водка is a clear distilled alcohol drink.

Generally made from water and ethanol, which is traditionally made by distilling liquid from fermented cereal grains and later using potatoes.

1. Kvass

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image source: seattletimes.com

Kvass is a traditional drink from the Slava and the Baltic that is generally made from fermented rye bread.

Kvass is a non-alcoholic drink, sometimes containing very low and/or higher alcohol. Kvass is very popular in Russia.

So, now Russia is not only synonymous with Vodka, right? Because various other unique drinks come from the diversity of cultures in the world’s largest country.

But, overall Russian drinks are always warm because of the cold climate.

Poka-Poka!

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