Dusheparka is an old Slavic alcoholic drink from Yaroslavl Oblast. It has a distinctive sweet and astringent flavor with hints of sour cranberry and burning hot ginger. This drink is served hot. Its brewing technology is close to that of a European mulled wine or other Slavic drinks, such as Siberian vzvar or Ukrainian varenukha. Despite its obvious regional nature the dusheparka drink is not yet patented, and its name is not controlled by origin.
You could argue that dusheparka was brewed in Yaroslavl Oblast in the 18th century, and there are no mentions of it prior to that time. But it’s possible that the recipe was created a few centuries before that. There is no unified brewing method: each inn brewed dusheparka in its own way. Nowadays dusheparka is brewed in Yaroslavl and Poshekhonsky Oblast restaurants mainly for tourists.
Aside from herbs, berry juices, and spices dusheparka also consists of beer and some red wine. The final product is light and has 6-7% ABV.
The Right Way to Drink Dusheparka
Dusheparka should be drunk only when it’s hot. It is a winter warming drink, “sweating out the soul”—not quite literally, but you get the gist of it. Usually served in a traditional mulled wine and grog Mazagran glass, dusheparka can also be enjoyed in wooden goblets, ceramic mugs and any vessel that can withstand high temperatures.
Regional dishes go well together with this ancient Russian “punch:” ukha, fish pies, Poshekhonsky cheese, and cottage cheese. Pickles, fruits, gingerbreads, cooked and steamed vegetables are also great snacks for this drink.
Old Dusheparka Recipe
The original dusheparka recipe is considered to have been lost. It has been recovered by some restaurateurs just recently and they are keeping it in secret because they wasted a lot of time and money on experiments or so it is said.
However, a 1792 recipe book survived until our days, and it has a detailed description of the dusheparka brewing method. Converting ancient Russian measuring units to modern enabled us to use this recipe.
- Liquid honey – 150 ml
- Dark beer – 0.5 liters
- Cranberries or lingonberries – 200-250 grams
- Spices (ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, Saint John’s wort) – to taste
- Red semisweet wine – 200 ml
- Sugar – to taste
To make the taste slightly milder you can use light beer instead and increase the amount of honey by 2-4 times.
- Mix honey, beer, berries, and spices in a cooking pot.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and turn down the heat to minimum. Simmer for 15 minutes and stir.
- Strain the decoction through a cheesecloth or sieve. Squeeze the pulp dry and throw out.
- Pour all of the liquid back into the cooking pot. Add wine. Optionally, sweeten the drink with sugar and stir.
- Heat up the dusheparka on a stove but don’t bring it to a boil. As soon as you see bubbles forming, quickly take it off the stove and pour into glasses or cups.
- Serve hot or warm. You can also drink it through a straw or add pieces of fresh fruits and berries.