European best destinations 2024 - Riga

Slightly bitter scent reminding of summer even in mid-winter, golden brown colour and unmistakeable taste - Riga Black Balsam is Latvia's most characteristic alcoholic drink. This strong and sweetish drink opens up a wonderful world of sensuality. Black Balsam consists of 24 ingredients though its recipe is still kept secret. According to legend, Empress Catherine the Great of Russia was cured after drinking Riga Black Balsam.

In 2010, Riga Black Balsam was declared the best brand in Latvia. Try the drink to better understand Latvia!

The traditional recipe was created by Abraham Kunze, a pharmacist living in 18th century Riga. He used the beverage to heal Empress Catherine II. Later the drink become popular among world leaders. Industrial production of Riga Black Balsam started in 1900 and, since then, the becerage has preserved its best qualities. Peppermint, hedge hyssop, wormwood, birch buds, ginger, sweet flags, balm... The recipe is kept secret. All we know about it is that the herbs are mixed with vodka and water, and this mixture is kept in oak barrels for more than a month, which gives inimitable taste and scent. Riga Black Balsam is an ecological product, all of its ingredients are tested.

Since ancient times, the drink has been kept in clay pitchers to protect from sunbeams. You can even say that in wintertime Balsam replaces the sun; it warms your body and mind when mixed with hot blackberry juice. As Riga Black Balsam contains volatile oils, dissolved resin and other scented mixtures, it can be used not only for relaxation, but also for healing yourself; the drink is especially useful in comatting colds.

Riga Black Balsam is unique. You can use it after a good meal or mix it in cocktails. Especially popular in warm drinks, made of Balsam and coffee or hot blackberry juice - experiments unlimited! You can make a layered cocktail with Black Balsam and peach juice or mix it with cranberry juice to feel the taste of autumn! A special delicacy is the mixture of Balsam and warm milk, with a scoop of ice cream and a sprinkling of chocolate. You can also create Mohito à la Latvian with orange, lemon, ice and Black Balsam.

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