At first water got to a pot with a grain, the grain sprouted and began to sour. A master noticed the process and decided to rescue the food, otherwise it could go to a bin. He dried up the sprouted grain and tried to grind flour from it. However, instead of bread he got malt and maltose. Someone guessed to add in this "unusable flour" boiled water, the mixture began to ferment and were not just edible, but also delicious and nourishing. It was the first kvass. Later half-beer (soft beer), beer and vodka were created on the basis of kvass. Now kvass is the same traditional drink for a Russian man, as orange juice for an Italian, cider for a Frenchman, and beer for an Englishman or a German. With the beginning of a globalization era many countries of Western Europe started to take an interest in recipes of Russian kvass. In the international competition which was in 1975 in Yugoslavia, Russian kvass from Moscow received 18 points, and popular drink Coca-Cola got only 9.8 points.


Hippocrates, Herodotus and Pliny the Elder remained the first description of kvass. However, after the discovery, which was made 8 thousand years ago in Egypt, it disappeared completely for a few thousand years. There is a notion in the «Tale of Bygone Years» that the East Slavs got the recipes of cooking kvass in the dawn of Common Era, long before the formation of Kievan Russia. Russian kvass is mentioned in the written sources in 989 A.D.: after a baptism the prince Vladimir I Svyatoslavich ordered to distribute "meal, honey and kvass" among the people.


In the course of time kvass became an obligatory product of a diet of patients in infirmaries and hospitals, and also became an obligatory allowance of army, fleet and even prisoners. Each kvasnik – a person, who makes kvass, specialized in a certain sort of kvass and sold it in a particular area, which was attached to him. Selling his kvass in the other areas could get the seller in trouble. The industrial production of kvass had one of the most considerable crises in the middle of the XIX century when Bavarian beer was brought to Russia. Representatives of the Russian intelligentsia began to give preference to beer, fruit drinks and women preferred lemonade because of its popularity. The Russian society of protection of national health started to protect kvass by insisting that kvass production needed committeeship. D. I. Mendeleyev (Russian scientist) wrote: "Many people, who has been drinking kvass since their childhood, including the author of this book, will agree, despite the smiles and slanders to the kvass patriotism".  In the USSR truly national drink kvass was poured into а special, easily recognizable yellow tanks and sold in pouring on the streets. Now the pasteurized kvass in bottles is popular and it is in stock at shops during the whole year.



The modern study confirmed that kvass has health-improving features. It regulates activity of a digestive tract, prevents from reproduction of harmful and pathogenic microbes, raises an organism tone, improves a metabolism and has a good effect on cardiovascular system. These curative features exist because it has a lactic acid, vitamins, free amino acids, various sugars and microcells. That is why the Russian peasants did not take milk and fruit drinks when they mowed, plowed and stored up the wood. They took kvass, because it helped to recover the energy. Nowadays the extract of malt is in a ration of sportsmen for improvement of physical efficiency, relaxing and increasing the muscles’ volume. Bacteriologists, infectiologists and doctors-hygienists claim that kvass has bactericidal features. In the lean years kvass was used as food and rescued people from exhaustion. The content of alcohol in yeast kvass is not more than 1.2%. The national proverbs and sayings tell us about the value of kvass: "Kvass as bread, never bothers", "Russian kvass rescued many people", "Bad kvass is better than good water", "If there is no shchi (cabbage soup) with meat, there is bread with kvass", "Everything is alright if there is bread and kvass".

Russian ancient kvass

Mix barley and rye malt, wheat and rye flour. Pour it over with boiled water, so that flour becomes damp. Remain it for an hour, then add hot water, allow it to cool down. Add liquid yeast and fresh green mint, mix and keep under a napkin before the foam appears. Pour off the sediment, add mint, and put it in a refrigerator or on the ice. In 3 or 4 days kvass will be ready. For 4 litters of water — 1 glass of rye flour, 7 glasses of wheat flour, 1 glass of barley malt, 1 glass of rye malt, 1 tablespoon of liquid yeast, 1 handful of fresh mint.

Kvass malt

It is necessary to prepare wheat, oat, rye, barley and peas for making of malt. Wash out the grain in warm water and fill up with water of room temperature so that it is completely covered. It should draw for 5 or 6 days, mix it constantly. In 2 or 3 days pour clean water and wash out grains in warm water. As soon as there are sprouts (they have to be longer in 2 - 3 times than the grain), take out the grains, dry in a warm oven (30-40 °). Pass the dried-up grains via the mincing machine, and then mill in the coffee grinder. Keep sprouts in a dry cool place in sacks. It is better to keep sprouted grains separately to get various kvass, combining malts.You should not pour over the malt with fiercely boiled water because ferments, the biological substances promoting fermentation processes, will be destroyed. For the best fermentation you can add beer, intoxicated substances, kefir (drink of fermented milk) or curdled milk to malt. It is possible to replace malt with yeast.

Cold kvass soup with radish

Pour over grated radish, cut boiled potatoes, onion or spring onions with kvass (not sweet), add salt, sour cream. Kvass can be replaced with milk.

grated radish — 2 or 3 tablespoons

potatoes — 2 pieces

onion — 2 or 3 pieces



The preparation of kvass according to the ancient recipe is a difficult, labor-consuming and long procedure. From the soaking of grain, greensprouting and steaming till drying, grinding and preparation of a mash more than 70 days pass. However now it is possible to buy a concentrate of kvass, which turns out the production of ready drink in a real pleasure. Caraway kvass and kvass with horseradish were the most popular in the Ural. Except a different taste, caraway kvass could cure cold. Also people made different types of kvass: sweet, sour, mint, with raisins, white, on the basis of cold soup «Okroshka», fragrant, daily, dense kvass-shchi, fruit, berry and many others. Usually people use the yeast, kvass mash (or crackers) and sugar to make barmy kvass at home. The types of kvass without cereals (on the basis of beet, sea-buckthorn, etc.) are used mainly in the cookery and folk medicine. Alcohol-free kvass can be made from almost any vegetable product if you pour over it with water and remain for a day (for example, grated radish is used for radish kvass). The easiest modern way to make kvass is using a concentrate, which is sold in grain departments of grocery shops. But some housewives consider that the real kvass can be made only by yourself.

Dishes on the basis of kvass

Okroshka — cold soup on the basis of kvass. Botvin’ya — cold soup on the basis of kvass from fish and boiled and grinded sorrel, spinach, spring onion, nettle, goose-food and other eatable herbage. Tyurya — an ancient Russian dish from bread and onion crumbled in kvass. Putrya — porridge from barley, summer wheat, buckwheat or millet with kvass and malt.
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