Introduction: Grape Vine and Basil Kvas (refreshing Carbonated Non-alcohol Fermented Drink)
First of all we have to gather the ingredients, and, I bet, you never looked at grape vine thinking: "hmmm... it's a perfect thing for making refreshing beverage!", but believe me, it is. You can even make a sprkling wine out of it. And also grape leaves are used in some dishes, so it's eadible stuff.
For our kvas we want to cut a bunch of those young sprouts, that are usually growing whatever they want trying to conquer all the garden.
For second main ingredient I'm using basil that once upon a time dicided to go wild and now grows all over the place. And don't believe the picture, to get the color (and the aroma) of a beverage from first photo, you'll need atleast twice as much of basil as shown there (it was a picture from another batch and I was to lazy to make a new one).
You can use only grape vine sprouts - it'll taste fine. You can use them in combination with something different.
You can also make kvas from basil, but it'll be better to add some lemon to it.
When you'r gathered all you need, pack the herbs into pot (mine is 5L)
Now we need to make an infusion, so boil some water and pour it in a pot till it coveres the herbs. (I boiled 3 full kettles + little extra; don't be confuzed by the picture).
If you're using solely grape vine sprouts, they may not smell wery pleasant when hot wetter is applied (they smell just like boiled leaves). Let it not put you off - the beverage will smell nice when ready.
Cover the pot with warm blanket and leave and leave for 24 hours, or overnight. It's ok if infusion will still be warm but it hasn't be hot.
On the next day prepare some plastic bottles, sugar and regular baking east.
Add sugar into each bottle. 4-5 table spoons for litre of infusion.
Then add east. Something like 1 tea spoon will do. You can controll the rate of fermentation by varying the amount of eas added. But keep in mind that all that emulgator that is used for shaping east into granules will percipitate in final beverage, so if you want clearer look at the end result, add less (although some precipitate will be there anyway, due to the dead east).
Pour the infusion into bottles. I'm usually leaving 1/3 unfilled, so I can not worry about all that fizzling and bubbling when opening the bottle.
Shake the bottles to disolve sugar and east.
Now, leave bottles in shady but warm place. 18-25*C would be perfect. Fermentation will start and CO2 will be produced. Some pressure has to built up inside the bottles in order for CO2 to start saturate the liquid making the whole beverage fizzy and sparkly and cool. But this is where important part comes:
DO NOT LEAVE THE BOTTLES WITHOUT YOUR ATTENTION!
Yeh, they can explode. It's not that scarry though. Just check them reguralily by pushing with your thumb. They have to be firm and springy but not rock hard. If there's too much pressure built up, relese some by accurately screwing off the lid. If the bottle is visibly bulging out, carefully release the pressure and pour the liquid into new bottle.
I recoment to use bottles from beer or carbonated drinks because they're made from stronger plastic. Also you can leave bottles outside or in a box, so that if accident will happen, the won't do much splash damage.
So, when the bottles are at right firmness (you can overcome inner pressure by bushing with your thumb), which can take from a half day to one day, put them into fridge. At the temperature lower than 16*C (theoretically... it has to be a bit lower in practice) fermentation will stop, and, unless the drinc is in the fridge, you have nothing to worry about (although some CO2 may still be produced while the liquid is cooling, we've already made sure that there's still some strenght reserve in the bottle to accomodate it). Before exploding, the bottle will notacibly deform, so, as far as it looks right there's no reason to be concerned.
When the beverage is cooled down it's ready to be consumed.
It may look like a bit troublesome process with all these explosion hazzards, but I'm doing it for 3 years now and haven't had any accidents so far (except for that one time, when I poured out some homemade wine into bottles, while it was slowly but still fermenting, and then, when those bottles were looking like ballons I honestly wasn't giving a damn about it... it was loud) and I'm not the most organized and responcible person, you can think of.
This kvas tastes and smells really well and also wery reffreshing.
Usually i'm making grape vine + basil combination earllier at the Summer but this year basil was a bit late. On the other hand I'm starting to make kvas from grape vine sprouts as soon as they appear at Spring.
This is is for now, thanks for your attention and it has really nice color.
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