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Polugar is a bread wine of very old tradition, so much so that it can be considered as preceding the famous vodka and consequently the true Russian spirit. In fact, there are historical records dating back to 1517 that describe the distillation of rye (which in Russian is a synonym for bread, hence the reference to "wine made from bread"). Traditionally, it is a distilled beverage obtained from the must of non-malted rye, in pot stills that reaches an alcohol level of 38.5%. Before the invention of alcohol testers when one needed to determine alcohol concentration, it was determined by setting fire to a small part of the product in a container. The liquid that was left over indicated the amount of water in the product. Using this method half of the beverage evaporated and you obtained a distillate with a neutral taste and aroma that would then be refined again creating a product well appreciated by the higher classes. The name is thus derived from the technique as Polu, in Russian, means "half" while Gar "combustion". The polugar was served in special glass cups, the lafitnik, which can contain between 50 and 150 millilitres of liquid. Today the texture is creamier, and it is a drink with a rich taste of rye bread. It is distilled three times in copper stills, it is not aged and the old production methods using birch charcoal are still used. In the history of the production of this beverage the date of 1895 is very important as it represents the year in which production of polugar was prohibited after the introduction of the state monopoly by the Czars. Thus, the use of rectified ethyl alcohol to produce vodka was introduced. Although polugar is starting to become known outside of Russia, the traditional method of production is still used by only a few producers loyal to the original beverage.

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Saint Petersburg

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Distilled and fermented beverages

Nominated by:Alexey Rodionov