Kazakhstan, a vast and enchanting land that bridges Europe and Asia, offers a unique melange of cultures, traditions, and flavors. Known for its nomadic heritage and modern advancements, the nation also boasts an array of beverages that echo its historical journey. Delve into the top five non-alcoholic cocktails that encapsulate the soul of Kazakhstan.
Kymyz: While traditionally made with fermented mare’s milk and containing a low level of alcohol, non-alcoholic versions of Kymyz are now available, allowing more people to relish its unique, sour taste. This centuries-old drink, believed to possess various health benefits, is deeply tied to the nomadic culture of the Kazakh steppes.
Shubat: Derived from fermented camel’s milk, Shubat is another drink that traces back to Kazakhstan’s nomadic roots. Creamier than Kymyz, this tangy beverage is often consumed during the warm summer months and is celebrated for its probiotic qualities.
Kvas: Borrowed from Slavic influences but adapted to Kazakh preferences, Kvas is a fermented beverage usually made from rye bread. With its slightly sweet and malty taste, this bubbly drink is both refreshing and nourishing. Non-alcoholic versions of Kvas can be found in most Kazakh stores.
Baursaki with Tea: While Baursaki are fried dough balls, they often accompany a hot cup of black or green tea — a daily ritual in many Kazakh households. Transform this pairing into a cocktail by serving a chilled brew of tea with honey and lemon, accompanied by a skewer of mini Baursaki for an innovative twist.
Fruit Mors: Mors is a delightful beverage made by boiling berries (like raspberries, currants, or cranberries) with sugar and then straining the mixture. The result is a sweet and tangy drink that captures the essence of Kazakhstan’s summer bounty. Served chilled, it’s a favorite during festivals and family gatherings.
Kazakhstan’s non-alcoholic beverages reflect its vibrant history — a tapestry of nomadic traditions, shared customs from neighboring countries, and a deep respect for the natural landscape. As you traverse the expansive Kazakh steppes or navigate its modern cities, take a moment to indulge in these liquid treasures. And, as you savor each sip, embrace the age-old Kazakh sentiment of hospitality and togetherness. In a traditional gesture of friendship, raise your glass and exclaim, “Sálem!” (Hello!).