Hrenovuha, the horseradish liquor

May 26, 2021

A few months ago I watched an episode of The Booze Traveller set in Siberia. The show's about a guy from Boston travelling the world and experiencing local, well, booze. In Siberia, he encountered something called hrenovuha, a liquor made from distilling horseradish.

It reminded me of horseradish vodka. I first encountered horseradish vodka in a Soviet-themed bar called Hammer and Sickle in Uptown Minneapolis. It was meant as a "punishment" shot as part of their Russian Roulette drinking game. However, I discovered that I loved it.

There are some excellent horseradish vodkas available in North America. However, none of them are really hrenovuha, which is much more horseradish-forward. So I decided to try making something akin to hrenovuha at home. Since I couldn't actually distill horseradish - that sort of thing is frowned on by authorities - I did the next closest thing. I took a bunch of fresh horseradish and a lot of 180 proof Everclear and made an infusion.

I peeled the horseradish and cut it into several one-inch chunks. Then I added that to about 500 ml of Everclear in a mason jar. I sealed the jar and let it sit on the counter in a dark corner for about a week, then removed the horseradish and strained the result back into the jar and threw it in the fridge.

The result is really strong and very horseradish-y. Much more so than horseradish vodka. I doubt it's the same flavor profile as hrenovuha, but I don't have access to the latter, so I can only guess.