Ark of taste
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In the Badakhshan region of Tajikistan, mulberries are used to make Samogon, a type of spirit. This product was commonly made before Soviet times, but under the Soviet Union mulberry alcohol production was banned and made an administrative offense. Still, the spirit was still made as moonshine throughout many villages. In the years before the revolution, local products made up nearly all of what was consumed in the area of Pamirs in eastern Tajikistan, and mulberries were among the most important. The arrival of the Soviet Union brought the importation of sugar, flour and other products that replaced mulberry products in the local diet. After the Civil War of 1993, mulberries regained their prominence in local culture, and the production of sweets and spirits derived from the fruit increased again. The preparation consists of halfway filling a jar with dried mulberries (distillers often use the berries that were crushed during collection). The jar is filled with hot water, leaving an empty gap of about 15 cm. The jar is then covered with something to insulate it, such as a blanket, and left in a dark and dry place. The fermentation activity will be audible, and when the process stops, the mulberry mixture is placed into a homemade still and processed three times to distill out the alcohol. The end result is tested by seeing if it is flammable; if it is, it is considered complete. Samogon is not available for commercial purchase, but only produced for home consumption.

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Distilled and fermented beverages

Nominated by:Nasratsho Ramatshoev