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  • Text: Vasiliy Avchenko

Ussuri Balsam is the legendary Primorye bitters and parallel venture for alcoholic beverage production in Ussuriysk. It traces its history back to the Pyankov brothers' distillery, which was built in 1894.

Ussuri Balsam bitters and Zolotoy Rog were developed by specialists during the Soviet era at the Pacific Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, part of the Far East division of the Russian Academy of Science. Ussuri Balsam bitters then appeared on the government purchasing order: Viktor Lomakin, then Secretary of the Regional Committee of the Communist Party, put forth the task to create a drink equal to the then-famous Riga Balsam. The appearance of these bitters, with added extracts of Siberian Ginseng and other medicinal plants of the taiga, are associated with famous Soviet pharmacologist, Professor Israel Brekhman.

Subsequently, Ussuriysk began to produce other, no less interesting, beverages. Today the factory, which is part of the Synergy group of companies, produces not only vodka, including Vostochny Most (translates to Eastern Bridge) with added extracts of kelp and scallops, but also an impressive range of liqueurs. One of the most famous is Panty na Medu (translates to velvet antlers in honey). It contains the substance pantocrine, which is extracted from young deer antlers, as well as honey and lemongrass. Ussuri Balsam, which became the company’s hallmark is a bitter, 45-degree, dark infusion with a rich taste, and includes lemongrass, ginseng, and the extracts of many Ussuri Taiga herbs. There is quite a demand among connoisseurs to enjoy this «Captain’s rum," and in Vladivostok its is simply known as «Caprom.»

After making the leap to local Primorye alcohol, you might also try Chinese vodka called «baydzyu» which is made from Japanese sorghum; Japanese whiskey; or Korean moonshine with a whole snake or a ginseng root inside the bottle. These beverages are produced abroad, but can be purchased in Vladivostok. If, of course, you know the right place.

Come to Vladivostok!

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