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Dec 10, 2011 10:01 AM

Medivka (Ukrainian Honey Liqueur) Questions

Hi Everyone,

While deciding on some holiday DIY projects, I stumbled across a recipe for Medivka in a 1978 cookbook published by the Ukrainian National Women's League of Cleveland, Ohio. This will be my first time attempting an infusion and am hoping that seasoned spirit makers can give me some tips on what to look out for. The recipe is:

1 C. dark honey with good flavor
1 1/4 C. Water
2 1/2-3 C. 100 proof vodka
peels of 1/2 orange and 1/2 lemon
3 whole cloves
1 whole allspice
1/8 of a whole nutmeg

1.Simmer peels and spices in water for 10-15 minutes
2.Add the strained water to honey, bring to simmer and skim the foam.
3.Warm the vodka slightly and add the honey syrup to it. Combine well, and filter through cotton.
4.Taste and add more vodka-personal preference
5.Keep in tightly closed bottles for at least a week

My biggest questions are:
1.How the heck do I measure an eighth of a nutmeg?
2.How should I tell giftees to store it?
3.Can I filter through a coffee filter?
4.Will it be cloudy? Is this normal?

I'm super excited about this project, as this cookbook is one of my favorites. Any advice on making sure it turns out perfect would be greatly appreciated.


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  1. This might seem like a lot of extra work, but try weighing the nutmeg, divide the weight by 8 and then grate the nutmeg. Re-weigh the grated nutmeg until you get the correct amount.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sk202399

      Grated nutmeg will be many times stronger than whole piece. I'd just grate in a 1/8 tsp max., basically a small pinch.

      I would gently crack the allspice berry.

      Don't crack clove.

      Make sure you don't get too much white pith with the peels, it's bitter. Don't just peel the lemon/orange and throw it in. Don't peel too deep with your veggie peeler or with a sharp paring knife. A little pith is good, too much and it will be too bitter. Some bitterness will be good to offset the sweetness. You can easily go up to the amount of peel from one each of lemon and orange.

      Make sure you gently simmer water with spices, ten minutes max. once it comes to a simmer, covered to prevent losing liquid.

      Filter through coffee filter or paper towel in funnel.

      Will be slightly cloudy even after filtering.

      Don't "warm up" the vodka.

      I would change the recipe to 1 cup water to 1 cup honey.

      And 3 cups vodka.

      This will keep at room temp. with no problem because it will be 60 proof with the changes I recommend.

      1. re: JMF

        JMF, I just came across this discussion and the original recipe, but when I make this, I will definitely follow your advice. When you make a suggestion, I pay attention. :-)

        1. re: JMF

          I just filtered it one more time, and let me say, this is utterly wonderful, oh so smooth and delightful. I will definitely be making another batch or two to give when the holidays roll around this year. Thank you for posting it, justlauralibrarian! And thank you, JMF, for your excellent suggestions!

      2. Thank you for posting this recipe! I just made a batch and it is resting in a couple of jars (I followed your basic recipe with JMF's suggestions, and it made 5 cups of medivka.) I am looking forward to sample of this next week, after it has finished resting. The aroma while it was simmering was lovely!

        1 Reply
        1. re: buzzardbreath

          I'm so happy it turned out! I had completely forgotten I started this thread and most of the replies came during a time I wasn't checking Chowhound regularly.

        2. Wow, this is so sad. Laura, you posted in 2011, and no one replied until 2013.
          I hope it turned out well.

          1. Man, that cookbook sounds like gold! What else is in it?

            This is very similar to krupnikas, a Lithuanian honey liqueur (they make it in Poland, too, where it's called krupnik). I made a batch recently and had the same nutmeg problem- I used the back of a cleaver to crack the nutmeg into pieces, and picked the one that seemed like the right fraction. I figure most traditional liqueurs are pretty forgiving of a little imprecision- and it did turn out wonderfully....

            1 Reply
            1. re: hannahmae

              This cookbook IS gold! It has an entire section on Borcht along with the line "contrary to popular belief, it is not just a hot beet soup. There is a borscht for every occasion and season." The recipe before the Medivka is Krupnyk, another vodka infusion with peppercorns,lemon,and cinnamon. The book says it's a lifesaver on a cold winter night.