mors recipe history culture origin

Морсы приготавливают из дикорастущего сырья, в основном из брусники и клюквы. Photo source: krassever.ru

Mors: When Life Gives You Berries…

Published: August 5, 2018

Mors (Морс) is a traditional Russian drink typically made of fresh berries, sugar, and water. It is drunk and enjoyed across the post-Soviet space.

Most often mors is made by boiling berries or similar small, juicy fruits such as cranberry, lingonberry, wild strawberry, or red currant with a sweetener such as honey or sugar. Mors is one of the oldest Russian drinks, with some archeologists suggesting that it may be more than two thousand years old. The earliest written records of the drink, however, are found in a fifteenth-century encyclopedia called “Домострой” (Domostroy), which translates loosely to “Household Code” and which covered everything from rules about how to organize a farm to how to punish a son to how to make good mors.

How It Got Its Name

(Почему он носит такое название?)

The word “mors” most likely comes from the Byzantine word “moores,” which means “water and honey.” The Latin word “musla,” which means “mead” is also sometimes cited as a possible source; mead is fermented water and honey.
Traditionally in Russia, particularly in rural Russia, honey has been more readily available than granulated sugar and thus was long the traditional sweetener of choice. Today’s recipes for homemade mors and commercially-produced mors drinks, however, usually call for sugar to be added. Honey is still sometimes used, especially by the health- or tradition-conscious.

When and How to Drink Mors

(Как правильно пить морс?)

Mors is especially popular on warm summer days and is often served slightly chilled. On the other hand, many profess drinking mors throughout the winter keeps sickness away since it contains many vitamins.

mors recipe history culture origin
Above are just a few of the major commercial brands of mors produced in Russia. Chuda-Yagody (second from the right) has now been purchased by Pepsi Co.

Citing these vitamins, many Russians believe mors has many benefits, including preventing colds, reducing fever, and improving one’s mood. Some recipes go as far as to suggest drinking mors thirty to forty minutes prior to eating to help your digestion.
Mors can be made at home, but is also commonly bought in one of many commercially-produced brands produced in Russia. It is sold in supermarkets in the juice section.

How to Make Mors

(Как правильно готовить морс?)

Mors is most often prepared with “ягоды” (berries), specifically “клюква” (cranberries), but a variety of fruits can be used. To add more nutrients, people sometime add juice from vegetables such as beets, rhubarb, or carrots.

Occasionally recipes call for birch tree juice (another traditional Russian drink) to be added to the mix. Mixing a variety of fruits and vegetables can make this drink very fresh and maximize nutritional benefits.

Many recipes will list two categories of berries: “лесные” (forest) and “садовые” (garden or orchard). Forest berries are found in the vastness of Russian forests, and berry-picking or mushroom-hunting are popular activities in Russia is a popular activity in Russia. Examples found in the forest include “черника” (bilberry), “голубика” (blueberry), “брусника” (ligonberry), and cranberries.

mors recipe history culture origin
По одной из версий, слово «клюква» происходит от старорусского «ключевина»–болото, сырое, место.

On the other hand, garden berries, as the name hints, are grown in gardens or orchards. Examples include “малина” (rasberry), “клубника” (strawberry), “красная и чёрная смородина” (red and black currant), “крыжовник” (gooseberry), “вишня” (cherry), and “виноград” (grape). In the summer, garden berries color bazaars across Russian cities.

While less common, other fruits can be used in making mors, including “арбуз” (watermelon), “яблоко” (apple), and “персик” (peach).

Most commonly, mors is strained through a fine sieve. Some cooks even suggest placing a paper towel in the sieve to make sure to get all seeds, pulp, and skin out of the drink. However, many restaurants in Russia now offer fresh “home-style” mors that will feature considerable pulp and skin. Keeping these elements and keeping the boiling stage of the mors to a minimum are becoming more popular as it is recognized that this maximizes the vitamins and fiber that can be obtained from the drink and thus maximizes the health benefits for which Russians have long cherished the drink.

For the health conscious (and traditionalists), honey can also be used in the place of sugar. Plus, as a finishing touch, try sprinkling a dash of cinnamon (also revered in the modern age for its unique health benefits) in the cup and place a mint leaf or lemon or orange zest on top for a nice garnish!

Mors Recipe!

(Давай Приготовим!)

Клюквенный морс Cranberry Mors
Ингредиенты
  • Клюква—700 г
  • Сахар—1 стакан
  • Вода—3 л

Приготовление

  1. Клюкву пробиваем блендером до однородного состояния. Затем процеживаем эту массу через марлю или сито. В идеале ‒ волосяное. Полученный сок убираем в холод.
  2. Оставшийся жмых отправляем в большую кастрюлю и заливаем тремя литрами горячей воды.
  3. Кипятим 7 минут.
  4. Затем процеживаем. Шкурки выкидываем.
  5. А в отвар добавляем сахар и доводим до кипения, помешивая, чтобы сахар растворился. Затем остужаем, по крайней мере, до теплого состояния (не больше 35 градусов) и смешиваем с соком. Остужаем, чтобы из сока не улетучились витамины при смешивании.
  6. Я иногда еще водичкой разбавляю потом. Очень полезная штука! Особенно в холодное время года!
Ingredients
  • 700 grams cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 liters water

Preparation

  1. Place the cranberries in a blender and blend until smooth. Then, filter the mix through a sieve, ideally a fine mesh strainer. Remove the juice from the mix and keep it cold. (This will be added back to the mixture at a later stage).
  2. Place the contents from the sieve in a large saucepan and add three liters of hot water.
  3. Boil 7 minutes.
  4. Then filter and throw out the cranberry skins.
  5. Add the sugar to the mix and bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Then, let the mixture cool until it is warm to the touch (not more than 35 degrees). After that, mix in the juice from earlier. Cool so that the juice does not lose vitamins before mixing.
  6. I occasionally dilute it further with water. It’s very healthy, especially in the winter to get your vitamins!

 

Яблочный Морс Apple Mors
Ингредиенты
  • 200-250 г яблок кислых сортов
  • 1/2 стакана сахара
  • 1 л воды

Приготовление

Яблочный морс можно приготовить двумя способами.

Способ 1

  1. Яблоки вымыть, разрезать на дольки.
  2. Пoложить в кастрюлю, залить водой, поставить на огонь и кипятить 10 минут.
  3. Затем процедить.
  4. В полученный отвар добавить сахар, прокипятить 1-2 минуты и охладить

Способ 2

  1. Отжать сок из яблок через соковыжималку или взять готовый сок.
  2. Добавить кипяченую воду, сахар и корицу по вкусу.
Ingredients
  • 200-250 grams of sour apples
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 liter water

Preparation

Apple mors may be prepared in two ways:

Method 1

  1. Clean the apples and cut into slices.
  2. Place onto a saucepan, pour water, and bring to a boil. Let boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Then put the mixture through a strainer to remove the solid parts from the juice.
  4. Add sugar to the juice and boil thoroughly. Then let the mixture cool.

Method 2

  1. Push apples through a juicer to make apple juice or use store bought juice.
  2. Add boiled water and sugar. Season with cinnamon.

Our Favorite Mors Videos

Here is a quick and simple demonstration of how to make mors (without smiling).

 

In this six-and-a-half minute video one Russian woman floridly teaches another how to “quickly” make mors for her husband and why he’ll be grateful for it.

 

This simple video shows the different types of berries explained above. This video can be used to reinforce the new vocabulary you learned in this lesson!

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About the author

Caroline Barrow

Caroline Barrow is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in International Studies and Russian. She loves traveling and hearing people's stories. Out of the places she's been able to visit, her favorite was Kiev, Ukraine for its beauty, history, and friendly people. She received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship and will spend the next year teaching English in Kostanay, Kazakhstan. Additionally, she has been named SRAS's Home and Abroad Translation Scholar for the 2013-2014 cycle.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar

View all posts by: Caroline Barrow