I am writing this article on the patio, in the shadows, during one of the hottest days of the year (the local authorities have issued a “heat wave code red” for today and tomorrow, so I can’t bear locking myself up in a room to work. I am sitting in the shadow with a glass of home-made kvass on my side. When I finish writing this, I will again attend to it, while playing my favoritegames at 7sultans.
What is kvass? Well, let me introduce you to this wonderful drink – and another one – below. Kvass is a fermented drink made using dried or toasted rye bread. It is a drink generally available both commercially and in a home-made version in Russia and Ukraine, as well as a series of surrounding countries like Moldova, Belarus, theBaltic countries, and several former Soviet states. The drink is also popular ina couple of Chinese regions, influenced in the past by the Russian culture. Kvass is a light drink, with a very small alcohol content – of 0.5 to 1 percent.This low alcohol content has caused it not even to be classified as an alcoholicbeverage in several countries. It is a healthy and delicious summer drink, which- if served traditionally, with the yeast still in it – offers not only a uniqueexperience, but also a healthy dose of Vitamin B.
To make Kvass at home, you will need a special ingredient not available in Western countries – the zakvaska (“kvass fermentation starter”), which contains a lactobacillus culture that aids the yeast do its job. Rye bread – black or regular – is dried and baked into croutons, put in a large jar with the additionof yeast, sugar, fruits or herbs, and zakvaska and filled with water. After a few days, when bubbles start to appear in the drink, it is ready. It is best served chilled.
The other healthy and delicious summer drink I present you today is the Spritzer, something I tasted during my visit to Hungary. It is a very popular drink painfully easy to make: all you need is wine and carbonated water (mineral water, club soda) mixed in various proportions. I loved how many variations of the same drink Hungarians like to drink: Whistle is the mix of equal parts of wine and water, Full spritzer contains two parts of wine and one part water, while Long step is the opposite – two partswater and one part wine. But they also drink Cconcierge with 3 partsof wine and 2 parts of water, Sport spritzer with 1 part wine and4 parts water, and Teddy bear spritzer which contains raspberry syrup in addition to the other components.
Look, I’m done! Back to my games and my delicious homemade kvass! Give it a try,and tell me if you like it!