I marked this recipe in the Culinaria Russia book after a beautiful picture of large glass containers filled with different flavors of kvass caught my eye. Reading further, kvass is a very low alcohol, thirst quenching drink that contains vitamins and aids digestion. Kvass can be made with many different types of fruit - Culinaria Russia has recipes for lemon, cherry, and apple.
Lemon kvass reminds me of a soft drink that I haven’t seen in ages called 50-50, but without all of the HFCS. Although it has sugar and honey in the recipe, they are mostly “food” for the yeast, so the drink turns out very refreshing and citrusy. I like it over ice on its own or with a tablespoon or two of homemade raspberry syrup.
You can find brewer’s yeast at brewery supply stores like Valley Vintner & Brewer or Home Fermenter Center in Eugene or at various places online. For small purchases, you can buy brewer’s yeast in 11g bags. Do not substitute baking yeast for the brewer’s yeast - it is much stronger and can be harmful to eat on it’s own.
Lemon kvass, from Culinaria Russia
Almost fills a 5 qt container
3 organic lemons, sliced thinly and seeds removed
7 Tbsp honey
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
5 tsp/20 g brewer’s yeast
6 Tbsp raisins
Place sliced lemons in 5 quart container and cover with 4-1/2 quarts boiling water. Add honey and sugar and let cool. I let it sit overnight to cool enough. Add the brewer’s yeast and let ferment in warm place for 24 hours.
From here, the recipe directs you to strain it into bottles and add the raisins and allow to rest for 4 days. I added the raisins to the original jar, let it rest for 4 days, and just pour a little in a glass when I want some. Looking at other kvass recipes, it seems that raisins are traditional additions to kvass, but I don’t think they added much to the flavor.