Polugar bread wine was the most popular alcoholic drink of the highest quality in Russia for the longest time. Bread wine has a pleasant rye flavor and in addition to that, it is quite strong—38.5%. Up to 1895 polugar was seen as a symbol of quality among alcoholic drinks, and it was strictly oversaught. Back in 1842 Nicholas I signed the decree which made it mandatory to check polugar wine quality by burning it out. In accordance with this standard, high-quality polugar was defined as half-burned out bread wine.
But since 1895 Tsar Alexander III decreed that polugar distilling was no longer permitted—a government rectified ethanol monopoly was introduced. It was used to produce vodka. With time, numerous bread wine recipes were lost and only recently this unique product once again reappeared on the shelves of stores.
- Water – 8 liters
- Flour – 2 kilos
- Yeast – 100 grams
- Sugar – 100 grams
Bread Wine Recipe
To make polugar, you’ll need rye distillate. The mash is made with coarsely ground first-quality rye and clean spring water, which is not subjected to complete purification. Once the rye mash is ready for distillation, its distilled in a special copper distillation stills. Cleaning is performed using fresh egg whites and natural birch coal. Bread wine making process can be mistaken for vodka making. But in fact, this drink has nothing in common with contemporary vodka.
There is no need to cool this strong clear alcoholic drink before drinking it—its soft rye bread flavor releases perfectly at room temperature. Fresh bread aroma and rich oily texture of bread wine somewhat resemble that of a strong liqueur.
Polugar Recipe (With Flour)
Pour over wheat or rye flour with warm water and stir well to dissolve most of it. Heat up the flour over a low heat and simmer it for an hour at a temperature not exceeding 70°C. Stir the mash until it becomes brownish.
Take the mash off the heat and let it cool down to room temperature. Add yeast and sugar and stir well. Now it’s time for fermentation.
After 3 days, distill the wort and decant it. In case you’re using steam distillation you can skip the decanting part. You should be able to gather about 2 liters of raw alcohol after the first distillation. Water it down in a 1:1 ratio and run the second distillation. To enhance the taste, you can carry out the third distillation and clean it with coal or egg whites.
Homemade polugar bread wine made following this recipe turns out pretty strong—it has 42-45% ABV. Despite this, it has a mild taste and is easily drinkable.
Traditional pickles, along with fish and meat dishes are all perfect chasers for this drink.