Mors 2.0 and Berry Soda

Ever since I posted my first mors (the Russian berry cocktail) about two years ago, I’ve been trying to come up with an even better recipe. Something more than a pleasant fruit punch; a kind of uncompromising antioxidant and vitamin bomb with a delicious, concentrated flavor. Recent articles on ChefSteps about fruit juice and fruit soda boosted my quest.

Not that I have any plans to acquire a $5,000 high speed centrifuge, mind you. What drew my attention on ChefSteps was the use of pectinase, an enzyme that breaks down pectin. Finally, I could get a beautiful, clear berry juice that wasn’t viscous, without applying any heat!

Berry Soda

ChefSteps didn’t invent anything (not this time at least). If you watch this video on how cranberry juice is made, you’ll see that the method is basically the same, apart for the addition of hot water and, most likely, large amounts of sugar:

Pectinase, aka pectic enzyme, can be purchased here. The next step is the choice of berries. This time, I opted for blueberries, blackberries, and a hint of strawberries, which provides both sweetness and acidity. All three are still discernable in the final product, and this is a great use of oft-neglected blackberries. For thick-skinned berries like blueberries, you might be able to extract more juice by using fruits that were frozen, then thawed. And I recommend you find a source of cheap berries, maybe by picking your own, because otherwise this is not a cheap drink. If you do your shopping at the Union Square Greenmarket, a quart will ultimately cost you about $30! 

Finally, if you own a siphon, it’s worth trying to mix the mors with a few cartridges of CO2. Even without adding any acid, as is recommended by ChefSteps, the result is quite exceptional. This is not like adding club soda to mors; this is adding carbonation directly to the mors! Just keep in mind that CO2 cartridges are not the same as whipped cream cartridges, or you won’t get any fizz in your drink. (And yes, I had my own idiot-moment when I realized this ;))

Russian Food - Berry Mors

Yields about 32 oz

22 oz blueberries
27 oz blackberries
9 oz strawberries
pectinase (see below)
4 oz water
1 pinch salt

    • Process each type of berry, separately, in a blender on medium-high speed (you don’t want to break the seeds). Pass through a chinois, add 0.25% of pectinase, stir and let stand for about 30 minutes.
    • Pass each type of juice, separately, through a paper filter. The weights at each step should be close to the ones in the table below. Adjust the weights of each filtered juice, and add to each of them the amount of sugar listed in the last column.
berry type whole weight juice before pectinase juice after filtering sugar to add
blueberries 22 oz 16 oz 12 oz 1 oz
blackberries 27 oz 20 oz 12 oz 1.3 oz
strawberries 9 oz 6.4 oz 4 oz 0.5 oz
  • Mix the juices together with the water and salt. Of course, you can tune the proportions of juice, water, and sugar to your own liking.
  • Refrigerate, and serve cold.

Berry Soda

Berry soda
Yields about 32 oz

32 oz mors, cold
6 cartridges of CO2

  • Pour 11 oz of mors into a half-liter siphon.
  • Insert one cartridge of CO2, then gently shake the siphon, and release the gas. Repeat with another cartridge of CO2.
  • Carefully open the siphon and pour the soda into an airtight bottle, or a drinking glass to enjoy immediately.
  • Repeat with the rest of the mors.