How to drink "Riga Balsam"

How to drink

Tourists visiting Latvia will almost certainly bring home a bottle of “Riga black balsam” as a souvenir. This alcoholic drink is officially included in the reference books of medicines used by local doctors. The bitter recipe was created in the middle of the 18th century by an apothecist from Riga, Abram Kunze, and was produced under the brand name “Balsam Kunze”. Initially, it was created as a medicine for the treatment of diseases of the digestive system and strengthening of the immune system, but later the experience of its use showed its effectiveness in heart diseases, gallstone disease, depression, and chronic fatigue. Now it is used not only for medicinal purposes. If you are lucky enough to acquire a beautiful ceramic bottle of "Riga Balsam", then you probably will not hurt to know how to drink it.

Beverage Characteristic

The classic recipe of “Riga Balsam” was kept secret for a long time and was lost in 1939, when people who knew him moved to Germany. In the postwar years, the best Riga technologists struggled for a long time to recreate the lost recipe, and in 1954 they succeeded. Now the release of this old drink is engaged in the company Latvijas balzams.

The recipe for this unique bitter is still not disclosed. It is only known that it consists of 24 ingredients, including ethyl alcohol made from wine, two types of skate, Peruvian balsamic oil, honey flavor, sugar, water, ginger, nutmeg, birch buds, linden flowers, blueberry extracts, raspberries, St. John's wort, mint, berry fruit drinks. Such a rich composition allows you to give the drink a unique bouquet, for which he is so valued by lovers of good alcohol. On the basis of the classic “Riga Black Balsam” (Riga Black Balsam), whose strength is 45%, lighter and more refined versions have been created:

  • Riga Black Balsam Element (40%), in the manufacture of which rum is used;
  • Riga Black Balsam Currant (30%) with black currant flavor and pronounced ginger notes;
  • Riga Black Balsam Cream (17%) is a liqueur that combines the strength of a classic balm with soft cream and caramel.

All versions of the drink have a unique taste and healing properties, but for treatment it is still better to choose a balm made according to traditional technology.

Usage Features

"Riga Balsam" improves appetite and digestion, so they drink it as an aperitif or digestif.

Despite the fact that the drink belongs to strong alcohol, it is not supposed to have a snack on it. Do not forget that initially it was considered a drug, and it is not accepted to seize medicines.

Drinking “Riga Balsam”, regardless of its grade, can be done in several ways:

  • In pure form. Pour it into liqueur glasses or piles. A portion - 30-40 ml. Drink in slow sips.
  • With tea. Brew strong black tea. Fill a cup with a drink. Pour 1-2 teaspoons of balsam into it. Add sugar or honey to taste (you can do without sweetening). Stir. Drink hot. Such a drink invigorates and improves mood, strengthens the immune system and improves digestion. By analogy with it, they make black coffee with balsam, but this option is less common.
  • As part of alcoholic cocktails.

The strength of the Riga Balsam is significant, but it is drunk easily, especially if it is only one of the ingredients in the cocktail.

Cocktail “Corporate”


  • blackcurrant juice - 20 ml;
  • “Riga Black Balsam” - 40 ml.

Method of preparation:

  • Mix the bitter with berry juice.
  • Heat in a water bath to the temperature of the human body.
  • Pour into a liqueur glass and serve.

Such a cocktail will be offered to you in Latvia if you visit the bar “Riga Black Magic”. Preparing a drink at home, you can replace the classic balsam with black currant. The taste of the drink does not deteriorate, if you warm it stronger, making it look like mulled wine.

Vitamin Cocktail


  • cranberry juice - 160 ml;
  • classic “Riga Balsam” - 40 ml;
  • ice cubes - to taste.

Method of preparation:

  • Put a few ice cubes in a cooled glass.
  • Pour in the balm.
  • Add juice.

The drink belongs to the category of long drinks, served with a straw. The glass can be decorated with “frost” from powdered sugar, with a sprig of mint.

Black Mojito Cocktail


  • “Riga Balsam” (classic) - 40 ml;
  • drink “Sprite” or similar to it - 160 ml;
  • lime - 0, 5 pcs .;
  • mint - for decoration;
  • crushed ice - 100 g.

Method of preparation:

  • Pour the crushed ice into a high glass. Focusing on your taste, you can slightly reduce or increase the amount specified in the recipe.
  • Cut a round slice from half of lime to decorate a glass, squeeze juice from the rest of it.
  • Lime juice, “Sprite” and balm combine and shake in a blender.
  • Pour into a glass with ice.
  • Decorate with a sprig of mint and a circle of lime.

Balsam gives the drink a dark color, which explains the name of the cocktail. It is very refreshing in hot weather.

Cocktail “Tram of Desires”


  • Riga Black Balsam Element - 40 ml;
  • pomegranate juice - 120 ml;
  • orange - 1 slice;
  • crushed ice - glass.

Method of preparation:

  • Mix drinks.
  • Fill a tall glass with ice chips.
  • Pour in a mixture of juice and balm.

When serving, decorate the highball with a circle of orange.

Black Night Dance Cocktail


  • “Riga Balsam” - 20 ml;
  • blackberry syrup - 10 ml;
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice - 5 ml;
  • Coca-Cola - 40 ml;
  • crushed ice - to taste;
  • cocktail cherry - for decoration.

Method of preparation:

  • Mix balsam, syrup and lemon juice in a shaker with ice, strain.
  • Pour into a cocktail glass, top up Coke.
  • Decorate with cherries.

The drink has a rich dark color, bright and harmonious taste. He will decorate any party.

“Riga Balsam” has healing properties, but many people do not appreciate it for that. The taste and aroma of the drink are so remarkable that they have earned him fans around the world. It is delicious in its pure form and in cocktails.

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