Медовуха на березовом соке
Birch sap mead, or medovukha, is prepared in the Vladimir Oblast of western Russia in the early spring of each year. The fresh sap is filtered through layers of leaves and gauze into 20-liter glass jars. Then, three liters of honey (preferably lime tree honey) and a handful of raisins are added, and the jar is left in a warm, dark place covered with cotton gauze. Once fermentation begins, a water trap is added, and the bottle is left in the dark to ferment for several weeks. Once foam subsides, another liter of honey is added, and the old raisins are replaced with new raisins. This fermentation lasts one to two weeks, and then the product may be poured into smaller bottles for storage. Before sealing the smaller bottles, fresh bee pollen is added.
The amount of alcohol varies following production. Young mead is barely alcoholic and tastes of lemonade. It can be aged for up to several months with the addition of further honey, and this “old” mead can reach a 16% alcohol content. Once the mead is ready it has to be stored in cold cellar or refrigerated. It is a translucent amber-colored drink with delicate honey flavor and distinctive sour taste. In Russia, this drink is still produced often in connection with festivals. Mead from the area of Suzdal has become well known, but the traditional product is being replaced with industrial versions which can also be sold cheaply.