Booze Files: Blackberry Mint Julep Muddle & Russian Black Bread Kvas

This past week I had 2 occasions to make booze drinks:

1.     The Kentucky Derby last Saturday.

2.     Warm-up round for my Fiesta Friday’s challenge feature, the Russian Chilled Sorrel Soup Botvinia, which begins with Black Bread Kvas (fermented, yeasted drink).

As you may recall, I don’t drink  . . . .  so I also don’t make drinks all that often, if ever.  But my husband loves the Derby and I wanted to create something in the Derby spirit . . . something I wouldn’t have to cook.  Something with a nod to tradition (The Mint Julep — I used mint and bourbon), but simple (no boiling up a “simple syrup”), seasonal (Harry’s Berries at Samo Farmer’s Market right now), and earthy (muddling:  partially smashing the fruits & herbs together to release the essential oils and flavor while leaving parts of the fruits and herbs intact).  So I made a blackberry mint julep muddle.  It was apparently so delicious it flew out of the pitcher.  It was gone fast.

Then, in contemplation of my Fiesta Friday challenge maiden voyage recipe, which would need to include yeast and herbs together in one recipe, I went Balkan with Botvinia, and made Step 1 of the 2 part recipe, the Black Bread Kvas.  You may have heard of Beet Kvass, a delicious, tart, jewel-toned fermented elixir that has roots in Russia and the Ukraine.  Bread Kvas is similar in that it is fermented, but it uses bread, yeast, water and raisins.  Many of the recipes I found included mint, too.  All of the recipes I found stated that the Kvas is “non alcoholic,” but let me tell you, if you put yeast, raisins, soaked rye bread and water together, you will get in a few days what distinctly smells like the strongest beer you have ever . . . . smelled.  Here it is in step by step gallery form and on Friday I will publish the recipe for both the Kvas and the Botvinia.

Served with Blistered Shishitos, Kraut, & Pickles

Served with Blistered Shishitos, Kraut, & Pickles

6 Comments on “Booze Files: Blackberry Mint Julep Muddle & Russian Black Bread Kvas

  1. Great minds think alike. Kvass was one of the things I had thought of making for the challenge, but I’m glad you did it. I wasn’t sure I could add any herbs to it, so I was interested to see you can add mint. I learned to love kvass when I lived in the USSR and it was a very common drink then – less so now. I was told it contained about 1% alcohol, which I believed. I would love to try making my own, because the bottled kind I can get here just isn’t as good as a home-made one – too sweet. Yours is the first recipe I have seen for it, so very interesting and one I would like to make.

  2. What an impressive spread, Sue! That blackberry mint julep looks so refreshing–no wonder it was gone in the blink of an eye!

    • Thanks Patty that julep stuff people said was STRONG. I got my husband real buzzed which was nice because he just sat still and was very docile! He’s normally so hyper (I say this with love). The kvass, on the other hand, is just nasty right now and I need to work on flavoring before I publish the recipe!!!!!

  3. Kavas and Botvinia recipes on Friday…the pictures and the sweet written narrative are so great to read…like it a lot. Good for you that you paid homage to the Kentucky Derby with your Blackberry Mint Julep creation. I believe your Blackberry Mint Julep creation is perfectly aligned with the spirit of the first Saturday in May, at Churchill Downs, in the great state of Kentucky, with the absolute explosion of colors, joy and sheer happy frivolity of the women’s hats, the pomp and tradition of the horses being led out of their paddocks to the starting gate, the beautiful song …My Old Kentucky Home…. so your very strong and so bold Blackberry Mint Julep creation just set a perfect tone for the Kentucky Derby…Oh Yes! Next year, you have to do another exotic mint julep offering!

  4. You continue to amaze me, Sue, with your knowledge of food. Not only have I not heard of kvas, I wouldn’t know the first thing to do to make it. Incredible woman! And a serious contender for FFC, looks like. 🙂

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