Sbiten is a traditional Russian hot beverage, very much loved by Russians in winter time. It was first mentioned in chronicles in the 12 century and was very popular till 19th century when was substituted with tea and coffee.
Like mead, sbiten's main ingredient is honey mixed with water, spices and jam. Comparing sbiten to kvass, it is very simple to prepare.
Here is the traditional recipe for 4 servings:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 cardamom pods
3 slices fresh ginger, to taste
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
1. Combine all ingredients with 1 quart water in a saucepan with a lid over medium heat; bring almost to a boil.
2. Cover and turn off heat; steep for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Strain, then reheat and serve, or refrigerate, covered, and serve cold.
If you are on a Moscow tour
in winter, warm up with a traditional Russian beverage sbiten