39 Russian Drinks You Should Know: Spirits | Cocktails | Wine | Beer | No-Alcohol

Dive into my ultimate guide to Russia’s beverages, where I’ve compiled the most comprehensive list of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks you’ll find! From the iconic vodkas and inventive cocktails to the rich variety of beers and wines, and even traditional hot and cold soft drinks, Russia offers a fascinating spectrum of flavors.

Whether you’re exploring the spirited warmth of Russian liquors, savoring the nuanced brews, or refreshing with a uniquely Russian soft drink, there’s a taste for every palate. Join me as I journey through the diverse drink culture of this vast country.

1.) Spirits from Russia

1.1.) Russian Liquor

1. Russian Vodka

  • Quintessential Russian spirit, smooth and clear.

Vodka is the cornerstone of Russian spirits, renowned for its purity and versatility. This iconic drink, integral to Russian culture, ranges from premium brands to traditional homemade versions, each offering a unique glimpse into the heart of Russia’s rich heritage.

  • Russian Standard: The benchmark of Russian vodka, embodying rich traditions with a smooth finish.
  • Stolichnaya: A classic brand known for its crystalline purity and premium quality.
  • Beluga: A luxurious vodka offering a refined and sophisticated taste experience.

2. Samogon (Traditional Homemade Distilled Spirit)

  • Rustic, potent homemade brew.

Samogon is Russia’s answer to moonshine, a potent distilled spirit often made in home stills. This traditional beverage showcases the resourcefulness and creativity of Russian distillers, offering a deeply personal touch to the spirit-making craft.

3. Polugar (Traditional Russian Bread Wine)

  • Historical, bread-based spirit.

Polugar, often referred to as Russian bread wine, revives the ancient tradition of distilling spirits from grain. This historic beverage, with its rich and nuanced flavors, provides a fascinating insight into the pre-vodka distillation practices of Russia.

1.2.) Russian Liqueurs

4. Krupnik (Spiced Honey Liqueur)

  • Sweet, spiced honey infusion.

Exploring the rich tradition of Russian liqueurs, Krupnik stands out for its delightful blend of honey and spices. This ancient beverage, often homemade, warms the soul with its sweet, aromatic profile, making it a cherished choice during the cold Russian winters. Its versatility in cocktails or as a standalone sipper showcases the depth of Russia’s liqueur craftsmanship.

5. Vishnevaya (Cherry Liqueur)

  • Cherry-flavored, sweet liqueur.

Vishnevaya, or Cherry Liqueur, is a testament to Russia’s fondness for fruit-infused spirits. With a luscious cherry essence, this liqueur combines sweetness with a slight tartness, creating a balanced and inviting drink. Enjoyed neat or as a cocktail component, Vishnevaya encapsulates the essence of Russian orchards in every glass.

6. Starka (Aged Liqueur with Apple and Pear Leaves)

  • Aged spirit, apple and pear notes.

Starka introduces a unique aging process to the realm of Russian liqueurs, where spirits are mellowed with apple and pear leaves, infusing them with a subtle fruitiness and depth. This age-old tradition results in a nuanced drink that reflects the passage of time and the evolution of Russian distilling techniques.

7. Pertsovka (Pepper-Flavored Liqueur)

  • Pepper-infused, bold flavor.

Pertsovka challenges the palate with its bold pepper infusion, offering a spicy twist to the traditional vodka base. This invigorating liqueur is a favorite for those seeking warmth and intensity in their drink, embodying the robust spirit of Russian cuisine and its love for pronounced flavors.

8. Limonnik (Lemon-Flavored Liqueur)

  • Citrusy, lemon-infused liqueur.

Limonnik, with its bright lemon infusion, brings a refreshing zest to the Russian liqueur landscape. This citrus-kissed spirit is perfect for sipping on its own or adding a lively twist to cocktails, showcasing the versatility and innovation in Russia’s approach to flavored liqueurs.

9. Okhotnichya (Vodka with Herbs & Spices)

  • Herbal, spiced vodka blend.

Okhotnichya, often referred to as Hunter’s Vodka, melds the clarity of vodka with an intricate blend of herbs and spices, offering a complex flavor profile that pays homage to the Russian wilderness. This spirit is a nod to the hunter’s flask, providing warmth and depth with every sip.

1.3.) Other Russian Spirits

10. Medovukha (Honey Fermented)

  • Fermented honey drink, ancient.

Medovukha, an ancient honey-fermented beverage, holds a special place in the heart of Russian traditional drinks. Predating vodka, this mildly alcoholic drink captures the natural sweetness of honey, complemented by a gentle fermentation process. Medovukha’s rich history and unique flavor profile make it a fascinating exploration of Russia’s beverage heritage.

2.) Cocktails & Mixed Alcoholic Drinks from Russia

2.1.) Russian Cocktails

11. Black Russian (Vodka and Coffee Liqueur)

  • Coffee-flavored, vodka-based.

The Black Russian cocktail, a classic blend of vodka and coffee liqueur, epitomizes the fusion of simplicity and depth in a glass. This iconic drink, originating from the mid-20th century, delivers a robust coffee flavor paired with the smoothness of vodka, making it a timeless choice for cocktail enthusiasts.

12. White Russian (Vodka, Coffee Liqueur, and Cream)

  • Creamy, coffee liqueur cocktail.

Elevating the Black Russian with a touch of cream, the White Russian cocktail offers a decadent experience that balances the boldness of coffee liqueur and vodka with the silky smoothness of cream. This beloved concoction has gained a cult following for its indulgent taste and easy sipping nature.

13. Moscow Mule (Vodka, Ginger Beer, and Lime Juice)

  • Spicy, refreshing, vodka mixed with ginger beer.

The Moscow Mule, with its invigorating blend of vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, serves as a refreshing staple in the world of cocktails. Served in a distinctive copper mug, this zesty drink is known for its spicy kick and effervescence, making it a favorite for those seeking a revitalizing cocktail experience.

14. Russian Spring Punch (Vodka, Crème de Cassis, Lemon Juice, Sugar Syrup, Sparkling Wine)

  • Fruity, sparkling vodka punch.

Russian Spring Punch combines vodka with crème de cassis, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and sparkling wine to create a vibrant and effervescent cocktail. This colorful concoction is perfect for celebrations, blending the crispness of vodka with the sweetness of berries and the fizz of sparkling wine.

15. Yorsh (Beer Mixed with Vodka)

  • Beer-vodka, potent mix.

Yorsh, an intriguing mix of beer and vodka, is not for the faint-hearted. This potent combination marries the lightness of beer with the strength of vodka, creating a drink that is both surprising and bold. Yorsh is a testament to the Russian knack for creating straightforward yet impactful beverages.

2.2.) Hot Russian Alcoholic Beverages

16. Sbiten (Vodka, Honey, Spices)

  • Traditional honey-spiced hot brew.

Sbiten, a traditional Russian hot beverage, dates back to medieval times and can be enjoyed with a splash of vodka for an added warmth. This comforting drink, made from honey, spices, and herbs, offers a sweet and aromatic taste, perfect for cold evenings and a glimpse into Russia’s rich culinary history.

17. Grog (Hot Water, Rum, Lemon Juice/Sugar)

  • Warm, citrusy rum drink.

Though not uniquely Russian, Grog has found its place in Russia’s repertoire of hot alcoholic beverages. Made with hot water, rum, lemon juice, and sugar, Grog is cherished for its warming properties and citrusy sweetness, making it a favored choice to fend off the chill of the Russian winter.

3.) Brewed & Fermented Alcoholic Beverages from Russia

3.1.) Russian Wine

18. Russian Wine (Various Styles)

  • Diverse, regional wine styles, particularly from Krasnodar and Crimea.

Russian wines from the Krasnodar and Crimea regions highlight the diversity and potential of Russia’s terroir. These areas, blessed with favorable climates and soils, produce a range of styles from robust reds to delicate whites, showcasing the evolving sophistication of the Russian wine industry.

19. Fanagoria (Various Styles)

  • Leading Russian winery, diverse portfolio.

Fanagoria stands as one of Russia’s largest and most respected wineries, with a diverse portfolio that spans from crisp whites to full-bodied reds. Located in the fertile Taman Peninsula, Fanagoria is at the forefront of Russian viticulture, combining modern techniques with ancient traditions.

20. Abrau-Durso (Sparkling Wine)

  • Premium Russian sparkling wine.

Abrau-Durso represents the pinnacle of Russian sparkling wines, boasting a heritage that dates back to the 19th century. Nestled by the serene Abrau Lake in the Krasnodar region, this winery produces sparkling wines using traditional methods, resulting in effervescent delights that rival the best in the world.

3.2.) Russian Beer

21. Baltika (Various Styles)

  • Russia’s largest brewery, international acclaim.

Baltika Breweries, Russia’s largest and an internationally recognized brand, offers a wide array of beer styles, from classic lagers to rich stouts. Each variant is crafted with precision, reflecting Baltika’s commitment to quality and its role in bringing Russian beer to the global stage.

22. Zhiguli (Various Styles)

  • Iconic Soviet-era beer brand.

Zhiguli, an iconic beer brand originating from the Soviet era, continues to be a staple in Russia. Known for its approachable flavors and nostalgic appeal, Zhiguli beers cater to a wide audience, preserving a cherished piece of Russian brewing history.

23. Sibirskaya Korona (Various Styles)

  • Siberian premium brews.

Sibirskaya Korona, or Siberian Crown, offers a range of premium beers that celebrate the richness of Siberia. With a focus on quality ingredients and distinctive flavors, Sibirskaya Korona beers embody the spirit and vastness of Russia’s iconic Siberian region.

24. Nevskoe (Various Styles)

  • Saint Petersburg’s historic brewery.

Nevskoe, hailing from the historic city of Saint Petersburg, is renowned for its quality and tradition. This brewery, with its deep-rooted heritage, produces beers that are beloved for their classic taste and craftsmanship, representing the soul of Russian brewing.

3.3.) Other Russian Brewed & Fermented Alcoholic Drinks

25. Kvass (Alcoholic Version)

  • Traditional, mildly alcoholic rye bread drink.

Alcoholic Kvass is a traditional Russian beverage with a history stretching back centuries. Made from fermented rye bread, this lightly alcoholic drink is cherished for its refreshing and slightly tangy flavor, embodying the essence of Slavic culinary traditions.

26. Braga (Home-Brewed Beer)

  • Rustic, home-brewed beer.

Braga is a testament to the Russian tradition of home brewing, offering a rustic and authentic beer experience. This home-brewed beer, crafted from simple ingredients like malt and yeast, connects drinkers to the age-old practices of brewing, reflecting the heart and soul of Russian hospitality and ingenuity.

4.) Non-Alcoholic Drinks from Russia

4.1.) Cold Non-Alcoholic Russian Beverages

27. Ryazhenka (Fermented Baked Milk)

  • Creamy, caramelized milk drink.

Ryazhenka, a staple in Russian cuisine, is a fermented milk product with a rich, creamy texture and a subtle caramelized flavor. This delightful beverage is not only a refreshing drink but also a nutritious option, packed with probiotics beneficial for digestive health.

28. Kefir (Cultured Milk)

  • Probiotic, tangy milk beverage.

Kefir is a fermented milk drink known for its tangy taste and probiotic content, making it a popular choice for health-conscious individuals in Russia. Its versatility allows it to be enjoyed on its own or as a base for smoothies and other culinary creations.

29. Mors (Berry Juice)

  • Refreshing, sweet-tart berry juice.

Mors, a traditional Russian berry juice, is made from fresh or frozen berries, offering a sweet-tart flavor that is both refreshing and invigorating. This drink is a summer favorite, providing a delightful escape from the heat with its rich berry goodness.

30. Kompot (Boiled Fruits)

  • Sweet, fruit-infused concoction.

Kompot is a fruit drink made by boiling various fruits, resulting in a light and sweet beverage that captures the essence of Russian summers. This versatile drink can be enjoyed hot or cold, making it a year-round treat for all ages.

31. Baikal (Soviet-Era Soft Drink)

  • Herbal, lemony soda alternative.

Baikal, a Soviet-era soft drink, was Russia’s answer to Western colas, offering a unique herbal and lemony taste. This beverage stands out for its distinctive flavor profile, combining herbs, spices, and lemon, making it a nostalgic favorite.

32. Tarhun (Tarragon-Flavored Soft Drink)

  • Anise-flavored, vibrant green soda.

Tarhun is a popular tarragon-flavored soft drink known for its vibrant green color and unique anise-like taste. This refreshing soda is a beloved choice for its distinctive flavor, setting it apart from typical soft drinks.

33. Dushes (Pear-Flavored Soft Drink)

  • Sweet, fizzy pear beverage.

Dushes, a pear-flavored soda, offers a sweet and fizzy experience that captures the delicate taste of pears. This light and refreshing drink is a favorite among those who prefer fruity sodas with a subtle sweetness.

34. Buratino (Caramel-Flavored Soda)

  • Caramel-sweet, effervescent treat.

Buratino, named after the Russian version of Pinocchio, is a caramel-flavored soda that delights with its sweet, effervescent taste. This unique soft drink is a cherished part of childhood for many Russians, offering a whimsical twist to traditional sodas.

35. Kvass (Non-Alcoholic Versions)

  • Traditional, rye bread-based beverage.

Non-alcoholic Kvass is a fermented beverage made from rye bread, boasting a mild taste and slight fizz. This traditional drink is deeply rooted in Slavic culture, offering a refreshing and slightly tangy option for quenching thirst.

4.2.) Hot Alcohol-Free Russian Beverages

36. Russian Tea (Traditionally with Lemon and Sugar)

  • Classic, warming brewed tea.

Russian Tea, often enjoyed with lemon and sugar, is more than just a beverage; it’s a ritual that embodies the warmth and hospitality of Russian culture. This comforting drink is a staple in Russian homes, serving as a centerpiece for social gatherings and quiet moments alike.

37. Zavarka (Strong Tea Concentrate)

  • Concentrated tea base for brewing.

Zavarka is a strong tea concentrate that serves as the foundation for making traditional Russian tea. By diluting zavarka with hot water, individuals can customize the strength of their tea, making it a versatile and essential component of the Russian tea experience.

38. Ivan Chai (Fireweed Herbal Tea)

  • Herbal, soothing wellness tea.

Ivan Chai, made from the leaves of the fireweed plant, is a caffeine-free herbal tea known for its health benefits and soothing properties. This ancient beverage is appreciated for its mild, slightly sweet flavor and its role in promoting relaxation and well-being.

39. Sbiten (Non-Alcoholic Version, Honey-Based)

  • Spiced honey, warming drink.

The non-alcoholic version of Sbiten, a traditional honey-based hot drink, offers a comforting warmth with its rich blend of honey, spices, and herbs. This age-old beverage is a testament to Russia’s long-standing tradition of crafting soothing, aromatic drinks perfect for chilly evenings.

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