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A sweet and rich beverage made from fermented leftover rye bread and yeast, Gira (or kvass) is the Lithuanian soft drink of choice. Walk into any supermarket or shop and you’ll be surprised by the variety of gira brands on offer.

A sweet and rich beverage made from fermented leftover rye bread and yeast, Gira (or kvass) is the Lithuanian soft drink of choice. Walk into any supermarket or shop and you’ll be surprised by the variety of gira brands on offer. Traditionally, it comes with a small percentage of alcohol remaining from fermentation, and this tiny kick is still intact if you choose a more artisanal brand. Most of the time, however, it’s more like a root beer. In many countries in the region, it was the substitute for cola, and was available from huge cisterns on every street corner. This accounts for the nostalgia that’s attached to it to this day. The beverage can be sweetened with sugar, or for a more distinctive taste, honey, birch sap, or fruits and berries. What else to say? You’ll find that most bars will have it on tap, making it a great non-alcoholic alternative to beer, and every microbrewery across the country makes its own version, so there’s a whole lot to choose from. Thirsty? Grab a gira!

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