Viryta is a sweet, potent liqueur made with numerous spices, honey, rye whiskey, grain alcohol and a blend of citrus fruits. Common purposes of viryta include use as an aperitif or a palate cleanser. Dating back to ancient Lithuania, viryta was believed to ward off coldness, darkness and evil spirits. Viryta recipes consist of grain alcohol, honey, water, lemon rind, orange rind and many spices, including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom and allspice.
It is also called Krupnikas, as a commercial product. This aromatic, sweet blend is best served warm and often used for its medicinal properties for treating colds. It is proven that honey has natural antibiotic qualities, as well as being superior for soothing a sore throat. Viryta also provides the best combination of spices and fruit to deal with a headcold.
- 3 sticks cinnamon
- 1 whole vanilla bean pod split lengthwise
- 2 nuggets yellow ginger peeled
- 2 nuggets white ginger peeled
- 10 whole cloves
- 10 whole allspice
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (kummel)
- 4 Cups water distilled
- 2 or 3 strips orange rind without pith
- 2 or 3 strips lemon rind without pith
- 2 pounds honey, clover or orange blossom (32 ounces)
- 1 quart rye whiskey or vodka 190 proof grain alcohol
- Overnight: Place the spices in a heavy pot with 4 Cups of water and the fruit rind. Cover and boil until liquid is reduced to about 2 Cups. Strain through a fine-screen or a funnel with cheesecloth. You may discard the spices or set aside for potpourri.
- Empty the honey into another heavy pot and bring to a boil. DO NOT leave it unattended, but stand and remove the foam that rises to the top with a slotted spoon. When the surface remains fairly clear, MOVE the pot away from stove (to prevent flare-up when alcohol is added).
- Pour the liquid spice mixture into the hot honey, stir. Add alcohol, stir. Return the pot to the stove and HEAT(do not boil or simmer), the mixture for 15 minutes. Keep pot covered as much as possible to retard alcohol evaporation.
- Remove from stove and let cool in the same pot overnight. Keep a lid on tight. The next day pour into bottles and allow enough time for any sediment to settle. You can decant (pour off) the clear liquid into other bottles or filter everything through a paper coffee filter. Cover while filtering to further retard evaporation and re-bottle. Then just enjoy.