Health benefits and limitations
Slavs found kvass is a healthy drink more than a thousand years ago. In the 20th century, scientists found, that many dangerous microorganisms dying inside. This beverage is also rich with vitamins of B and E groups; it is useful for the metabolism.
If you keep fit, then kvass will be the excellent choice. It contains only 27 calories in 100 grams. For example, juice contains usually more than 40 calories, and Coca-Cola contains 44 calories.
WARNING! Law in Russia is harsh. The drink-drive limit is 0,15 (in breathed out air). Kvass contains small a amount of alcohol. If you drink kvass, and traffic police stop you, you will have a serious trouble probably. We recommend to wait one hour after drinking kvass, and only then sit on a drivers chair.
Some politicians in Russia offer to decrease blood alcohol level to zero. Before 2013 there was such low in Russia, and it was terrible.
If you drink other Russian traditional drinks kefir and mors, then the problem will be the same. It also contains some amount of alcohol.
There are limitations. Kvass is not recommended for children up to 3 years old. If you ill with hypertension or stomach illnesses, then it is also better not to drink too much kvass - 0,5 litre will be enough.
History of kvass
The word "kvass" is very old and translates as "a sour drink". We do not know the exact moment when kvass was invented, but we know this drink is first time mentioned in the old Russian text of the 10th century.
In the old times, kvass was the alcoholic drink, and it was stronger than modern beer. The percentage of alcohol content could achieve 16%. Now in the modern Russian language the word "kvasit" is widespread, and it means drinking alcohol.
In the 16th century, vodka appeared in Russia. Many of traditional alcoholic drinks disappeared completely. Kvass has changed to non-alcoholic drink.
In the old times, everybody in Russia drank kvass. Peter the Great (the first emperor of the Russian Empire) liked this beverage very much.
The famous Russian general Alexander Suvorov (see the picture on the left) ordered to all his soldiers to drink kvass every day. He knew this beverage restores the energy of soldiers and prevent illnesses in the army.
In the old Russia, there were more than 500 sorts of this beverage. Many people were cooking it at home according own recipes. A special recipe of kvass existed until 1950s; it was a technology without using yeast and zero alcohol as the result. Now this recipe is unfortunately lost.
In the times of the Soviet Union kvass was also very popular. In the cities, it was sold on the streets from special large barrels. Such barrels had yellow color. Nowadays this tradition is gone, because The State Sanitary Service declared such barrels unhealthy. You may rarely find it in Moscow, but do not need to hope for this seriously.
How and where to taste kvass in Moscow
There are few ways. The better idea is to taste kvass in fast-foods. Of course, you will not find it at McDonalds, KFC of Burger King. You will need to visit national fast-foods - "Kroshka Kartoshka", "Melenka" or "Teremok". If you visit a restaurant of Russian cuisine, then you will surely find kvass in the menu.
You may buy the ingredients in a supermarket. You will need the special kvass mix and yeast. You may see both of them in the photo on the right.
The idea is bad. There is the cooking instruction on the surface of the package, but this instruction is only in Russian language. It is hard to find this mix, because not every supermarket sells it. The cooking process is rather long.
It is much easier to buy ready for drinking kvass in bottles. Kvass loses its flavor if it is impacted by light, and all manufacturers use dark plastic bottles. You should search for brown bottles on the shelf of a supermarket.
Most popular brands in Russia
The first most widespread and popular brand is called "Ochakovsky". It is produced by The Ochakovsky Food Factory in Moscow. Ochakovsky has 35-40% of all sales of kvass in Russia. This brand is popular thanks to its good quality.
If you want to buy bottled kvass, then we will recommend to choose Ochakovsky. You may find it mostly in every supermarket or small food store. This is the number one brand in Russia.
The second popular brand is called "Nikola". Sometimes, you may see a picture of a young fellow dressed in a national shirt placed on the sticker. Nikola is a short version of the Russian name Nikolay.
The word "Nikola" is very similar to the phrase "Ne cola" translates as "Not cola". Using this similarity, this brand declares its opposition to western drinks like Coca-Cola.
Unfortunately, the flavor and the quality of this kvass are terrible. This brand has high sales only because of its name. It is better to choose something else.
The third famous brand is called "Russkiy dar". It translates as “The Gift of Russia”. The quality is good, but the taste is different from others. We would describe the taste as rude.
If you cannot find "Ochakovsky" or want to taste as many sorts as possible, then "Russkiy dar" is the good choice.
These three brands are most prevalent in Moscow. If you find some other brands, you will have big chances to buy synthetic kvass. All information on the surfaces of stickers is in Russian language, and you will not be able to read about its composition. We advise not to risk.
We hope you will like the taste of Russian national beverages. Read our other interesting articles about Russia (links are located above in the left column and below).