Antique sbiten

Category: Yeast bread
Antique sbiten


honey 0.5 kg.
water 2 l.
hop 10 gr.
ginger (powder) 1/4 tsp
honey 150 g
dry red wine 1 l.
ground cinnamon 0.5 tsp
ground nutmeg 1/4 tsp

Cooking method

  • Sbiten appeared in Russia about a millennium ago. Already in the XII century, this drink is mentioned in the annals as widely used by the Slavs and it was called then digest, later - vzvar. In 1128, Prince Vsevolod, feasting with the boyars, ordered "to display wine, honey, digestion, vegetables and all kinds of food for the people in the streets."
  • From the very beginning, the digest was prepared in honey with the addition of aromatic herbs - St. John's wort, sage, bay leaves, ginger and capsicum.
  • There was sbiten with and without wine. Street vendors sold sbiten, usually without wine. They cooked it in samovars.
  • For cooking folk trick boil water, dissolve honey there, add spices and let it brew for about half an hour.
  • There were also stationary "downed smoking rooms" that were located in busy crowded places of the city. The role of the counter was played by a large window pierced in the wall of the house. Nikolai Gogol left an excellent sketch of the beaten up in one of the chapters of Dead Souls: “... below there was a shop with clamps, ropes and donuts. In the coal one of these shops, or, better, in the window, there was a beater with a samovar made of red copper , and a face as red as a samovar, so that from a distance one could think that there were two samovars on the window, if one samovar were not with a beard as black as pitch. " For a long time non-alcoholic sbiten replaced tea and coffee for the Russian people, they drank it several times a day.
  • Sbiten with alcohol was prepared mainly in taverns visited by wealthier people.
  • For cooking sbitnya with wine Bring dry red wine to a boil, dissolve honey in it, add spices and let it brew for 30 minutes.
  • Foreign sailors called this drink "Russian mulled wine".
  • The colorful figure of the beaten up is reflected in old engravings, stove tiles, and paintings by many Russian artists. The daring sellers of sbitn even penetrated the theater stages.


In 1783, an opera was successfully staged at the St. Petersburg Theater, the plot of which was borrowed from The Barber of Seville. The merchant Vodyryov, the guardian of Pasha's merchant daughter, wants to marry her, but Pasha loves the officer. Sbiter Stepan undertakes to arrange her happiness. Stepan's weekend aria enjoyed the greatest success with the public:
Here is sbiten! Here's hot!
Who is mine?
Everyone eats it:
Both a warrior and a hoe,
A footman and a runner,
And all honest people.
Honest gentlemen!
Come here!

Sbiten is a traditional hot drink in Russia and Belarus. Pepper, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaves, sometimes beer or alcohol are added to boiling water with honey or sugar.

Over a mug of sbitnya

One of the branches of the "family tree" of "drinking honey" was sbiten. As without an ice cream vendor in our time, so without a whip-peddler — a peddler — it is impossible to imagine the street life of a city of past centuries.

Artists, contemporaries of the sbitenshchiks, left us their images, and the writer Ya. B. Knyazhnin in 1783 wrote a "comic opera" for the theater, calling it "Zbitenshik". This performance begins with the aria of the beaten up Stepan:

“Here's a bitten, here's hot.
Who is mine!
Who eats it,
And a warrior and a clerk!
A footman and a skarahod,
And all honest people.
Honest gentlemen,
come here. "

This drink was especially popular and widespread in the 18th-19th centuries.It is known that sbiten, as a healthy drink, was occasionally given to the builders of the Admiralty by Peter's order. At the beginning of the 19th century, it was customary in St. Petersburg theaters to go out to the square during intermissions and drink sbiten.

Antique sbiten
Sheremetyevsky is the famous knock-down of Petersburg.
Lithograph from a drawing by Shchukin. 1810s.

It was drunk not only as a delicious, sweet and spicy drink, but also as a warming drink in cold weather. In winter, they wore fragrant sbiten in huge copper baklags wrapped in white linen ...

Many offenders brewed this drink according to their own recipes and kept them secret. There were sbiten who were famous for their skill in making sbiten.

Sbiten was prepared as follows: a set of "spicy potions" consisting of bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and sometimes pepper was put into boiling water along with honey.

Some home-cooked sbiten drank it with lemon or cranberry juice or cream.

Later, for profit, enterprising bumpers began to add molasses to honey, which soon completely replaced honey. Burnt sugar was also put into molasses.

In wealthy houses, while boiling a solution of honey with spices, they began to add beer, vinegar, galangal, pepper to the cauldron, and after boiling French vodka (cognac) was added.

However, such sbiten was not widespread and soon fell out of use, leaving a memory of itself in cookbooks published at the beginning of the last century.

With the spread of tea and the opening of tea houses, the sbiten ceased to be in demand, and the sbiten gradually disappeared from the city streets.

It is curious to note that a mixture of crushed spices for seasoning dishes was also called sbitnem. This mixture was also
according to a variety of recipes. Here is one of them: table separately a quarter pound (102 grams) of pepper, the same amount of ginger, and eight spools (34 grams) each of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon, a quarter pound (102 grams) of anise and as much kisnese (cardamom), mix everything , sift through a sieve and store in a closed glass container in a dry place. Some added powder from dried mushrooms or morels to this composition.

The old Russian drink sbiten, revived by skilled culinary experts, is now included in the menu of lovers of Russian cuisine again.

Having tasted a number of sbitney, we preferred sbiten served in the Zerl restaurant in the city of Vladimir.

The recipe for this sbit is as follows: for one liter of water, take 150 grams of sugar and honey, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, bay leaves 15 grams each. Boil for 10-15 minutes.

V. Sorokin

Natalia Polt

1) The source for this article was the book "Studies on Nutrition" - Moscow 1991, compiled by NP Mogilny, VM Kovalev, pp. 263-266.
Antique sbiten
Antique sbiten
2) N. V. Gogol "Dead Souls" - Moscow, 1968, p. 28.
Antique sbiten
Natalia Polt, thank you for reminding me about this book "Essays on Nutrition"

I picked it up and read it - very interesting! Eyes and hands do not always reach to read everything

I left this book on the table, I will place this material and not only in my section Sketches on Bread and Food.
By the way, it was from this book that I took the material about "D. V. Kanshin" About normal canteens ", a rare material about the first Russian creator in Russia "Nutrition Encyclopedia", which was published in 1885.

Thank you for reminding
Natalia Polt
Quote: Admin

Natalia Polt, thank you for reminding me about this book "Essays on Nutrition"

I picked it up and read it - very interesting! Eyes and hands do not always reach to read everything

Thank you for reminding
Yes, the book is very interesting, it contains recipes for old forgotten dishes, and on the reverse side there are also fairy tales on culinary themes.
I have not studied the history of sbitnya, I know what is tasty and healthy. So thanks for the recipe and REFERENCE. It can be seen that you have tried to recreate the old setting, this is already a huge +.
A very interesting recipe! I would like to try .... Has anyone cooked it? For example - hop, just lay it in or make a decoction?
Natalia Polt
Quote: Deer

Has anyone cooked it?
Duc, so I expose the recipe, so someone did
Quote: Deer

hop, just lay it or make a decoction?
Here the hops are used as an aromatic condiment, just lay in.
But especially delicious with wine. Such a "mulled wine with honey"

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