Mead and beer are ceremonial and traditional drinks. Mead, midus is the oldest and noblest drink, served during banquets and special occasions. Travelers and chroniclers wrote about the manufacture and use of mead by Lithuanians and Prussians as early as the eleventh century. Good conditions existed to make mead because Lithuanians since early times took honey from wild bees in tree hollows. Today people have several hives on their farmsteads, to satisfy their family needs. Mead ten or more years old was the landlord's pride, for mead's quality increases with age. 
Often to celebrate the birth of a child, the father made a batch of mead. This batch was kept and aged until the child's wedding.
There was a time when mead took second place to vodka. However about 30 years ago there was a revival and mead was made again, using ancient recipes. Mead is again found on holiday tables, together with songs about mead and its traditions.
Beer has been brewed in Lithuania since ancient times and even today is a popular, traditional drink. It is always brewed for family celebrations, feast days, barn raisings and funerals. Beer is brewed from sprouted barley malt. The most popular malt beer is made in Central and North Eastern Lithuania, where a strong beer is popular. In Samogitia, eemaitija, beer is brewed using dried bread, hops and sugar. Most often the man of the house brews his own beer. However, for special occasions, to brew extra good beer, a well known brew master is hired. During festivities, the brew master's other job is to make sure that pitchers are always full. 
The making of home made wine in Lithuania was begun at the beginning of the twentieth century. Most wine was made in the South Western region, Suvalkija, from forest and orchard fruits and berries. 
Another ancient drink is made from birch and maple sap, collected in early spring. Sap is drunk fresh and fermented for summer drinking.
To satisfy thirst, Lithuanians brew a semi sour drink, gira - kvass. 
Much appreciated from ancient times are linden, thyme, caraway seed, mint, raspberry, strawberry, camomile, dill seed and other herb teas, which not only refresh but also have healing properties. 


True mead is made with natural, light honey. In Lithuania and neighboring countries home made mead varies because of different seasonings used. 

Lietuviðkas midus

10 k (20 lbs) honey
10 l (10 qts) water
1cup dried hops 
1 tablespoon dried juniper berries
8 teaspoons wine yeast

Pour honey into stainless steel or enameled pot, cover with spring water, mix well and bring to a boil on low heat. Place hops and juniper berries into a linen bag and drop into boiling honey-water solution. Skim off scum and continue to boil until no more scum forms, about 1/2 hour. Cool solution to 85F/30C, add yeast, mix well and pour mixture into a glass carboy. Close bottle with cork, run a small hose or glass tube through the cork, one end of which is placed in a jar with water. This will allow the release of fermentation gases. Keep the fermenting carboy in a warm spot for about 3 weeks. As fermentation comes to an end, a deposit will form at the bottom of the carboy, decant mead into another carboy, stopper and keep at same warm temperature for about 3 months. Decant again and pour into an oak barrel. Close barrel and set in a cool spot. To obtain strong mead, age up to 5 years.

Kmynø arbata

1 tablespoon caraway seed
1 cup water
sugar to taste

Pour hot water over caraway seed, boil for 5-10 minutes, then let infuse for several minutes. Strain and pour into cups, add sugar to taste.

Liepþiedþiø arbata

15 linden blossom branches
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons raspberry preserves
2 cups water

Cover linden blossoms with boiling water and boil for 3-5 minutes. Strain, add honey and preserves and mix well. This tea is drunk on bitterly cold days and at bedtime.

Giliø kava

1 l (1 quart) acorns
1 l (1 quart) milk

Dry freshly picked acorns at room temperature for a couple of days. Shell and cook in milk until soft, about 45-60 minutes. Remove acorns from milk and blot dry, saute in a dry skillet until golden brown. Grind scorched acorns and store in a tight container. 
To make acorn coffee, take 1 part water, 2 parts sweet cream or milk. Place 3 teaspoons acorn coffee in boiling water, boil 2-3 minutes, whiten with milk or cream and add sugar to taste

Morkø kava

1/2 k (1 lb) carrots, peeled and grated
1 l (1 quart) water
1 cup sweet cream
sugar to taste

Spread grated carrots on baking sheet and dry in oven, at low heat until carrot gratings turn dark brown, but are not burned. Cover dried carrots with hot water, boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat and let infuse for several minutes. Strain, warm if it has cooled, pour into cups, whiten with cream, sugar to taste. 
Store dried carrots in a tightly covered container, so that they are always at hand when desire for carrot coffee arises.

Duonos gira

1/2 k (1 lb) dried, black rye bread
5 l (5 quarts) water
20 g (4 teaspoons) yeast
1 cup raisins

Cover bread with boiling water and let sit for 24 hours. Strain, add yeast blended with sugar, and remaining sugar, mix well and let ferment for 1-2 days in a warm spot. 
Pour fermented liquid into glass bottles, add several raisins to each bottle and close tightly. Store in a cool place.
Kvass is ready to drink the next day. It will be drinkable for up to 2 months, if kept in a cold spot.

Kmynø gira

2 cups caraway seed
5 l (5 quarts) water
1/2 k (1 lb) sugar
1 cup raisins
20 g (4 teaspoons) yeast

Cover caraway seed with cold water and boil for 15-20 minutes. Strain, add sugar and cool to 105F/40C. Add proofed yeast, raisins. Set in a warm spot to ferment for 2 days. Pour into bottles, close tightly and keep in cold place. This will be ready in 2-3 days.

Mieþiø gira

1 k (2 lbs) barley; 1/2 k (1 lb) sugar
20 g (1 cup) dried hops
5 l (5 quarts) water
20 g (4 teaspoons) yeast

Saute barley in skillet until golden brown. Pour barley into a pot, cover with cold water, add hops and cook for 30 minutes. Strain, mix in sugar, cool and add proofed yeast. Let ferment in a warm spot for 48 hours. Pour fermented liquid into bottles, close bottles and store in a cool place. Barley kvass tastes best when 3 days old.

Spanguoliø gira

1 k (2 lbs) cranberries
1 k (2 lbs) sugar
20 g (4 teaspoons) yeast
5 l (5 quarts) water

Pour sugar and cranberries into a pot, cover with water and cook for 10 minutes. Put everything through a food mill and wash down pulp with berry juice. Cool and add proofed yeast, mix well. Set in a warm spot to ferment, for 3 days. 
Cranberry kvass is drunk right away or poured into bottles and stored in a cool place.

Medaus gira

1/2 l (2 cups) honey
5 l (5 quarts) water
20 g (4 teaspoons) yeast
1 cup raisins
juice of 2 lemons

Place honey in hot, boiled water, stir until honey melts. Cool. Add proofed yeast and let ferment for 24 hours in a warm place, until liquid begins to foam. Remove scum, add raisins and lemon juice. Pour into bottles and store in cool place. 
Honey kvass is brewed for weddings and other festivities.

Burokëliø kisielius

2 cups beet juice, made from raw beets
2 l (2 quarts) water
4 tablespoons potato starch
1/2 vanilla bean
2 lemons

Dissolve starch in 1 cup cold water. Bring remaining water to a boil, mix in starch solution, vanilla bean, sugar, beet juice, juice of 1 lemon. Bring mixture to a boil. 
Remove from heat, pour pudding into a glass pitcher, add thinly sliced lemon and let cool. 
Beet pudding has not only a beautiful, rosy color but a very distinctive taste. 


Towards the end of March, before leaves appear, maples and birches are tapped for their sap. Maple trees are tapped more often because their sap is much sweeter than birch sap. 

Rauginta sula

Fill a wooden barrel with maple or birch sap. For extra flavor add black currant, cherry or birch branches. Cover top with oats. Oats are light and remain on the surface and sprout creating a 5 cm/2 inches thick cover. This method of covering the sap creates a flavorful fermentation. Such fermented sap can be kept for several months in a cool place and be available to satisfy summer thirst. Cut a round opening in the oat cover to allow a ladle to enter the barrel. Replace the cut out round when enough drink has been ladled.

Aguonø pienas

1 cup poppy seed
1 l (1 quart) water
1/2 cup sugar

Process poppy seed in food processor until a thick mass is formed. Using a meat grinder it will take 2 grindings of scalded poppy seeds to make a thick mass. Pour boiled but chilled water over poppy seed mass, add sugar and mix well.
Poppy milk is served with cookies, and used in soups and drinks. It is also served with oat pudding and Christmas biscuits.

Kanapiø pienas

1/2 l (2 cups) hemp seed
1 l (1 quart) boiled water
salt to taste
pinch of pepper

Saute hemp seed in skillet until crisp. Process seed in food processor or grind in meat grinder until powdery. Pour powdered hemp seed into hot, boiled water, add salt and pepper and mix well. 
Both poppy and hemp seed milks are used in place of cow's milk, especially during times of fasting or during winter when there is a shortage of regular milk.