Nastoyka is better than vodka

3:37 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (0)

“Of course, you know that ashberry tincture is a favorite drink of the Russians. Remember, that it owes its success to the peculiar taste, calming effect on the stomach, increasing digestion. Don’t forget to drink a glass of nastoyka at breakfast, lunch and supper. You’ll get both pleasure and good” said Russian manifacturers at the beginning of the 20th century, advertising nastoyka.

Nastoyka (tincture) is a Russian national drink as well as vodka and it has a long history. There are so many sorts of nastoyka in Russia, that you can hardly find one tenth of it in other countries of the world. With the help of nastoyka Russia compensated the lack of wine.
First alcohol tincture were used in medicine. Alcohol helped to keep useful natural substances in fruit and berries. Much later the tincture gained popularity as alcoholic drinks.
First tinctures had been produced before distillation was invented. People infused the herbs with the help of alcoholic liquids, got through brewing. Beginning from the pre-Petrine epoch there was a great variety of nastoyka in every house of the boyar, and later of the nobleman: anisic, birch, wormwood, mint, cardamom, cranberry, tormentil, pepper, lemon and other tinctures. Then the tinctures were used by monacs and alchemists as medicine. And only in the 17th century tinctures and liquers became popular and were no longer used in treatment.

The plenty of sorts and flavors is concerned with the great variety of feed stock. To tell the truth, a Russian nastoyka has a flavor of gardens, fields and forests of this great country.

There is a list of some components to use in nastoyka production:
Spices – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom;
Herbs – St. Jon’s wort, sweet-grass, origanum, camomile, wormwood, sweet clover, milfoil, thyme, mint, acacia, white bird cherry, fennel, coriander, lime, gingseng, aralia, hips, juniper and others.


Nowadays all the tinctures manufactured in Russia can be divided into three groups:

  • Bitter ones – containing 25-60% alcohol
  • Half-sweet – containing 25-40% alcohol
  • Sweet – containing 16-25% alcohol. By taste it is close to liquer.

There are also “simple” and “complex” tinctures. A simple nastoyka is made of one sort of aroma herbs and a comlex one is a mix of aromatic substances.

Production of nastoyka

Nastoyka is made through blending alcohol, juices and syrup with herbs.The most wide-spreaded way to make a nastoyka at home is alcoholic infusion. Berries correct the flavor of vodka, create a special aroma and give piquancy to the drink. Nowadays distillery plants regulate all the technological process in producing tinctures. Raw materials are certified. The composition of alcoholic tinctures is under control. But to produce nastoyka at home is much easier, because the method of cold infusion is used. You need to put fresh or dried plants into a bottle, pour alcohol into it and keep it some time until active substances are dissolved in alcohol. After infusion the mix must be filtered and shaked up. The infusion time depends on the raw, temperature conditions, but usually it lasts about 3-5 weeks. There are two main methods of producing a nastoyka. The first one is a maceration of fruit, berries or plants in pure alcohol or brandy. This process lasts up to several months. Then you must filter the mix and add distilled water, honey, sugar and something else and repeat the whole process again.
The second method is the following: fruit, berries, plants are infused in alcohol (up to some weeks), after that the mix is distilled for one time.

How to drink nastoyka

Nastoyka can be used just as it is, can be mixed up with water or ice, or used as a cocktail component. Nastoyka shouldn’t be kept in cold place, because it can grow turbid. Any nastoyka can be used as an aperitif.
Sweet tinctures can be served for dessert. Sometimes strong bitter nastoyka is used instead of vodka and served for spicy snacks, meat and fish dishes.
Nutritionists say that nastoyka is very good for health. It is used to treat ischemia, leukemia, vascular diseases.

Some recipes

Lemon nastoyka
1 bottle of vodka
2 lemons

It’s a traditional lemon nastoyka. Wash the lemons and dry them. Use only yellow peel because white pulp adds bitter taste. Keep it for several days in a warm place, then filter.

Moscow nastoyka
0.5 l. vodka
20 gr. sage seeds
20 gr. peppermint seeds
20 gr. tormentil seeds
20 gr. ginger seeds

Put the seeds into the vodka, keep it for a month, then filter and pour into the clean bottles.

Nastoyka “Erofeich”
The fragrant flowers and herbs: origanum, St. John’s wort, lovage, sage, wormwood, balm, milfoil, thyme, wild strawberries, apple-tree and pear-tree leaves, hawthorn blossom – 2 gr. each.
Cardamom and anise – 0.5 gr. each
1 l. of good vodka

Mix all the ingredients up, keep it for 2-3 months, filter and pour into the bottles of dark glass. Cork it up. The nastoyka brings vitality and relieve a stress.


The Slavs - who were they?

4:51 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (2)

Old Russia from the very very beginning.

The vast East-European plain was inhabited with the Slavs - the ancestors of the Russians. Nobody knows when and how they had come. They settled in different parts of the huge deserted country along the Great Waterway: on the coast of the Varangian (Baltic) Sea, near Nevo Lake (Lake Ladoga), on the bank of the river Volkhov, Ilmeni Lake, the river Lovati, the Dnieper up to the Russkoye (Black) Sea. The folks were named according to the place of their living. These people built the city of Novgorod. Along the Dnieper the Polyans lived in the city of Kiev. The people who lived near by in the forests were called the Drevlyans. There were lots of Slavic tribes who lived near the rivers and lakes. But there were also foreign nations. In the North Finnish tribes lived (Chud, Ves, Merya, Muroma, Cheremisa and others). In the West there was Lithuania, in the South - the Turkis (the Khozars, Pechenegs, Polovtsy). They were engaged in farming. They were ruled by the Fathers, but it wasn't a peaceful time because the tribes carried war on each other and offended their neighbours.
Then they sent ambassadors to the tribe of the Varyags over the Baltic Sea to the country which was called Russia, with words: "Our country is great and rich, but there is no discipline here, please come here to be our grand dukes and masters". Three princes (brothers Rurik, Sineus and Truvor) came with their armed forces, including lots of Slavs, and since that they began to govern in Novgorod, Beloozer and Izborsk. It happened in 862. And it was the beginning of Russia.

Some facts from the life of old Slavs.

There is much information about the life of old Slavs. Strength and stamina, indifference against the weather and climate were inherent for them. Like all the Barbarians they didn't take care of their appearance. The most important thing for them was beauty of strong muscles. The Greeks emphasized good build, tallness and pleasant features of the Slavs. They were very hospitable, according a hearty welcome to any strangers. They supplied their guests with the guard, until they were safe. The Slavic wives were uncommonly faithful. Men kept fidelity as well. According to the tradition wives didn't want to live after their husbands' death and they took death by fire. Vendetta was a usual thing. In case of murder not only a murderer was punished but all his family. The relatives of a victim demanded blood for blood.


The Slavs were engaged in farming. They cultivated rye, wheat, barley and millet. Gardening was also popular. The archaeologists found the seeds of turnip, beet, carrot, radish and cucumbers. Hunting also played a very important role together with collecting and activities, concerned with forest and water. Fish was a very important thing for food and for trade. They bartered it for bread. To root up the trees the Slavs used an axe which was first made of stone, and then of iron. With the help of hoe and spade they loosened the ground. The harvest was gathered with reaping-hooks, threshed with chains and ground with manual corn-crusher. Cattle-breeding played secondary, but important role. The Slavs kept pigs, cows and goats. It is known that they gathered honey and used it as a basis for cooking alcohol drinks.


Northern Slavs built land-based houses with wooden floor, gable roof and a big stone stove. Under the ground there was a barn, called "podpolye", "podklet" or "podizbitsa". In the South houses were called semi-earthhouse ("poluzemlyanka"). There were some floors under the ground. The walls were interlaced with willow branches, dry brushwood, rye straw. Stoves were made of clay. The roof was hipped and had no flue. Russian houses were decorated with fretwork and paintings, which had magical sense and played a role of a protector. They reflected pagan ideas of the Slavs. On the front of the house there were the sun and the sky. The Sun was painted on the wooden "towels" located on the roof. The central towel demonstrated a circle divided into six parts which symbolised a seal of Rod or Perun (their Gods). It protected the house from the lightning.


Every kind of food played a ceremonial role. For the Pancake week the Slavs cooked pan cakes, symbolising the Sun, for funeral they cooked kissel - fluid food of the dead, for the holidays they baked pies, speaking about the wealth of the family. What ate our ancestors thousand years ago? The Chronicles say that in 907 a monthly tax included wine, bread, meat, fish and vegetables. The word vegetables meant both vegetables and fruit at that time. At the end of 10th century you could find salted lemons, raisin, nuts and honey on the table of a duke. The chronicle of 996 describes the feast of the grand duke Vladimir - much meat, in the streets people could get bread, meat, fish, vegetables, honey and kvass. The army made complaints against wooden spoons and the grand duke ordered to bring silver ones. Porridge could be found in every house. It was made of everything. There is a Russian fairy tale called "Porridge made of an axe" proving the previous statement. The Slavs added beef, brains or yuraga (butter foamed in water) into the porridge. Besides vegetable porridge was also popular. Turnip was the most commonly used vegetable in Russia up to the 18th century. Bad turnip harvest could be the real tragedy for people. This vegetable was boiled, baked, filled or eaten fresh.


The Slavs used hemp and cotton to make clothes. Besides, they framed sheep, fleeced and weaved a thick cloth. Most clothes was white. The Slavs knew only one way of coloring - with the help of plants. Alder bark gave brown colour, alder leaves - black, lady's bedstraw roots - dark red. The most popular clothes was shirt, which both men and women wore. It was decorated with embroidery. Trousers were a prerogative of men, boys didn't put them on up to 15 years old, when they became men - hunters and warriors. Their length hardly reached knees. The idea of women's clothes was also interesting. Young girls up to 15 years old wore long shirt, it was prohibited for them to wear a skirt which was called "poneva" - it was a prerogative of a married woman. Poneva is a seamless piece of cloth fixed with belt and covering the backside and thighs.The Russian word "poneva" means "understand", it means that the girl reached the age when girls realize who they are. There was a ceremony of putting on the poneva. It was made in public in presence of all the relatives and friends and it denoted that the girl attained her majority. The girl climbed a wide bench and her mother, a poneva in her hands, asked her to jump into the skirt. The girl said: "If I want, I will, if I don't want, I won't". As soon as she agreed to do it, she was announced a bride.


The Slavs were pagan. Their beliefs could be divided into several groups.Forest and hunting let the Slavs live. That's why the hunting beliefs are concerned with all the possible animals. The most important god was a BEAR. He was a master of the forest. Cult of WOLF was also popular. During the holidays men wore wolf skins to frighten the evil away. A woman was associated with a deer. Water ghosts - mermaids and vilas - helped to irrigate the ground, they were worshiped as goddesses. The Slavs believed in Khtonos. It was a creature born by the Earth. It was awful and frightening, looked like a huge snake. The sanctuary of the Snake was situated on the bank of the river. Young girls and horses were offered to the Snake as a sacrifice. The pantheons of the Gods was very large and needs further consideration.


An Alien Comes to Russia

6:12 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (2)

A dwarf

This story happened in Kalinovy village near Kyshtym city, Chelyabinsk region. Once upon a time there was a harmless old lady Tamara Vasilievna Prosvirina. In autumn and spring her relatives placed her into the mental house, because she had acute conditions.But all the rest time she wandered around the village, called on the graveyard - she liked to pick up flowers and ceramic name boards. She couldn't harm anybody.

At night on the 13th of August 1996 there came an awful storm. It was heavily raining and hailing. But it didn't prevent Tamara Vasilienva from walking. In the copse near the hillock she saw a strange creature: it was little as a premature baby, just 25 sm long, its head had a pointed shape, its eyes were as big as coat buttons. Instead of lips it had a chink, its body was covered with hair and it was sharp-clawed. The creature was peeping, and the old lady took it home.

My son, Alesha

Some weeks later the citizens of the village began to worry: "Prosvirina seems to have exacerbation". What else could they think when she told the neighbours that she'd got a son, Alesha?
The only son of the pensioner had been imprisoned, his wife, who visited Tamara sometimes, worked as a cook on the rotating schedule and she'd been off at this period. The neighbours decided to call for ambulance. Tamara didn't want to go, she cried and said that her son would die without her.

What a hell is this?

It was too late, when the people remembered "the son" of the old lady. There were some people who had seen this creature alive. At first, Tamara's daughter-in-law. Once Galina brought food to her mother-in-law and heard: "That's great, that you've brought a cottage cheese, I need to feed a baby". "The baby" lay in bed and peeped. "I saw that he had a mouth like a pipe. His tongue was red. He had two teeth. When I stared at him, I noticed that he wasn't like a real baby. His head was brown, his body was grey, there were no eyelids, no genitals, no navel. His head was onion-shaped. Instead of ears he had just two holes. Fingers and toes were very long. My mother-in-law gave him a caramel and he began to suck. I thought it could be an animal", says Galina.The other witnesses are: Galina's mother, Tamara's grandson Sasha, her neighbour Nina Glazyrina. No one told about the baby neither the authorities nor the scientists.What for? If it were a baby, they would need to call to police. But strange pets are another question. Let him live like a cat.They also told later that the creature didn't piss, he just sweated. Prosvirina sponged him down. They say that the house has become permeated with some kind of chemical smell because of Alesha. He smelled like a cheap cologne.

Posthumous life of the creature

While Prosvirina was receiving treatment at the hospital, her daughter-in-law decided to check the house. She came in together with the lodger Vladimir Nurdinov. At once they smelled a strange smell - strong, carrion. In bed they saw a small body, which had already begun to rot. "It's neither an animal nor a mutant. It's an alien. We must keep the body and sell it to the lab", said Nurdinov. So said, so done. He took the body and dried it up in the sun. It wrapped the body.

What happened later?

Vladimir Nurdinov didn't have time to sell an alien. In autumn he had to give evidence of the cable theft. He was questioned by Evgeniy Mokichev
"Do you want to see an alien?" offered Nurdinov.
An investigator, who had seen much in this life, agreed with a smile. They went to his place together and Mokichev saw the strangest creature ever. It seemed to be a baby but its head consisted of four parts and looked like a comb.The mummy was withdrawn. When Mokichev came back, he told his partner Vladimir Bendlin about it, who decided to investigate the case. Informally, of course.
The pathologist and gynaecologist in the local hospital examined the body and said it was evident that the body was not a man and not an embryo.
Bendlin took photos and videotape recording of the mummy. He interviewed Prosvirina and recorded the talk as well. Then he called to Kamensk-Uralsky where there was an ufological society. It was the last place where the body was brought to.

Mysterious death of Proskvirina

This is not the end of the story. A group from the Chinese television learnt about the dwarf. They came to Russia to talk to Prosvirina. On the very next day there was a call to police about the road traffic accident happened to Tamara Prosvirina overnight. She had been knocked down by a car to death. It happened in August 1999. They say Tamara rushed out of the house without shoes as if somebody had called her. She dashed to the road and had no chances to survive.
The Japanese interviewed other witnesses. But there was no sense in making an investigation without the main character and Alesha's body. The Japanese producer Deguti Masao instituted a prize 200 000 dollars for the mummy.

There are some interviews below obtained by the journalists from Russia and Japan:

Tamara Vasilievna Prosvirina.

Luckily, Vladimir Bendlin, the investigator, kept the videotape with her interview.
We see an old lady. She wears a crumpled green hospital gown. She is bold, her look is wandering. The lady is guided to the yard.

- This is Prosvirina in the mental house, says the investigator.

- This talk in unofficial and has no validity... The woman can hardly say her name. She has a neural tick. She is asked who Alesha is.

- My son.

- Where did you get him? She is looking at the sky. Then says:

- I found him under the tree. He lay head first. I cleaned him up.

- How did the place look like?

- In the forest... It was raining and hailing. Alesha is mine, I'll give him my name.

- He is dead.

- Dead?

- Yes.

- Oh, Gosh. She bursts into tears.

- Why?

- He had no food.

On her face there is a real tragedy. She is sobbing: "Poor baby! I told the doctors I had a baby... Let me go..." She is taken away.

Stanislaw Samoshkin, a pathologist.

In 1996 I was asked to examine a strange creature. It was done in the presence of the district militia officer. The body has been embalmed, there were no internals, only skin and skeleton. It was 25 sm long. I was surprised to see a tower-like skull. There was no division between temporal and parietal bones. It could be related to homo sapiens, because it is known that a cerebral cavity of apes is bigger than their face. Pelvic bones are formed orthograde. I was asked to say whether it is a man or an animal. I've never seen such a skeleton among the animals, but it couldn't be a man as well. The proportionality of the skeleton didn't meet the norms. The arms when straightened could reach the knees. I couldn't do it myself because I wasn't allowed to touch the body and its arms was wrapped. The creature had no teeth. I couldn't determine the sex of the creature. I've never seen something like this before...

Lyubov Stepanovna Romanova, a lab assistant of the municipal hospital

"In 1996 at the beginning of August an embalmed body of a little man was brought. I can't say whether it was a baby or a foetus. Its skin has been half-rotten in the area of stomach and on the extremities.Its bones were safe. Ordinary arms, legs. A head looked like a helmet and consisted of four parts. It had no auricles. Very large almond-shaped eye-sockets. This creature - Alesha it was called - when it was alive, could walk, it didn't crawl. I think so. It's a pity, it's gone. It's a very interesting, unique case. I wish the scientists could examine it better!"

- Could it be an alien or it was just a foetus, a mutant?

- No it wasn't. I've been working at the hospital for a long time. It didn't look like a foetus, of course. At the same time, I didn't thought, that it was an alien - it was just a strange thing, that's all. And it didn't' seem to be a foetus, because bone construction was really strange. There can't be such a human foetus.

- What about its internals, did it differ from the human ones?

- There were no internals. It was an embalmed body. He had been dried up, somewhere there was skin.

- Do you think it was a grown-up creature or a child?

- I think it was a creature similar to a child, but it was not a human child. A small one. Probably, it looked pretty because of its large eyes and a helmet-like head. Of course, it is interesting.

- Do you consider it to be a sentient being or not?

- I don't know what to say. I can't judge.

- What about the skull?

- The skull... it corresponded to the development of its arms, legs and body.

- Could it have brains?

- I guess it could. If we had dissected it, we would have viewed it.

- Didn't you have an opportunity to dissect it?

- No, we didn't. When it had been brought to us, there wasn't any directives or instructions for dissection, and we have no right to do it without them. That's why we refused to dissect. And moreover there were no expert. We could have dissected the body for the sake of interest... That's all. After all the body was taken away and I don't know where.