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A Ukrainian Cider Recipe for the Holidays from a Respected Chicago Chef

Daniel Hautzinger
A steaming mug of cider behind a plate of its ingredients
Uzvar is a Ukrainian cider of dried fruits, nuts, and spices. Credit: Kathleen Hinkel for WTTW

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We have a new spiced, warm beverage to add to your holiday drink repertoire, courtesy of Anelya, the new Ukrainian restaurant from the husband-and-wife team of Johnny Clark and Beverly Kim. Uzvar is a Ukrainian cider typically served around Christmas that is made from dried fruits, nuts, and spices.

Clark named Anelya after his indomitable grandma, who hosted his family for weekly Sunday dinners at her home in Cincinnati, as he recently told us. Uzvar is a great drink for a family holiday meal, as children can enjoy it as is, while adults can add in some brandy, as Clark does at the restaurant, to make it like a toddy. Try his recipe below.



50 grams dried apples
100 grams white raisins
50 grams dried apricots
5-6 smoked pear halves, or dried pears and 1-2 drops of Liquid Smoke
1 each cinnamon stick (optional)
3 each whole cloves (optional)
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
1 tablespoon honey (or more by taste)
6-7 cups filtered water
Pinch of salt


1. In a bowl, add dried fruits and pour water to cover. Soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse under running water in a colander. 

2. In a large pot, add drained fruit, hazelnuts, 6-7 cups filtered water, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Bring it to boil, cover, and simmer on very low heat for 30 minutes.

3. Turn off the heat and let it rest covered for another 30 minutes. Strain out the solids through a fine sieve.

4. Add the pinch of salt and honey to taste. Serve warm or chilled.

Learn more about Ukrainian cuisine and hear the story of Clark's restaurant and its namesake.