The same way that lemonade recipes of different flavors and colors flood internet sites during the summer, Russian recipes for kompot lead the Russian-speaking culinary world. If you do not have a Russian friend, co-worker, spouse or mother-in-law, you are probably missing this essential summer drink.
And you should NOT be deprived of it.
So how does it fare in comparison with Lemonade?
1. Lemonade implies lemons - meaning you have to squeeze a LOT of lemons. That means lots of sugar, too, right?
2. Kompot is incredibly versatile. You can use any kind of fruit: sour, sweet, dry, seasonal, exotic (pro tip: try adding pineapple to the mix), native, wild (if you're able to add wild strawberries to your kompot, you're basically making the nectar of the gods)... well, you get the point. And it's incredibly delicious even without sugar - a massive plus.
3. Lemonade is a fresh drink, full of vitamins, antioxidants, microelements, and other new buzz words.
4. Kompot is made by boiling water - it keeps better, but loses its vitamin C.
Almost every Russian household drinks kompot and has its own perfect recipe. Here is one of mine.
To reflect my lavender state of mind – lavender had been picked on the farm during last couple weeks and I dried plenty of bouquets to sustain mine and my friends demands of dry organic lavender for cocktails, baking, and decorations – I gave this version a lavender twist, which you can skip if not interested. I like to use berries or fruits that give the drink a nice color – wait for cornelian cherry kompot recipe in due time.
Lavender Berry Kompot
Fresh Blueberries - have to use this opportunity to praise my regular place to go for blueberries – EMERY’S BLUEBERRY ORGANIC Farm in New Egypt, NJ. I picked them 2 days ago and used the ones that did not stand the test of being absolutely perfect for eating – a bit squashed at picking, not so ripe, etc.
Fresh Blackberries - these come from our patch and they are PERFECT for kompot – they give it a dark deep color and delightful sour notes, because blueberries are mostly neutral and blunt.
Place them in a pot, add water, and boil for 20-30 minutes, until you get the desired color and flavor intensity.
Do not add sugar. Most recipes will call for this, but it's already close to perfect and I have a trick up my sleeve. Instead, just strain the fruits, squeezing them in a colander to collect the last bits of juice. Taste the result, and add a few slices of lemon or squeeze in a lime, if you like things on the sour side.
Deploy the secret weapon: lavender simple syrup - 4 tablespoons per 2 liters of kompot, or about 1 tablespoon per pint. This is an optional, seasonal step, but boy did it elevate the aroma of this kompot.
Chill the kompot.
Chill it some more.
Enjoy and share! When life gives you fruits and berries, make kompot, my friends!