If you ever visit the Latvian capital Riga, you may see the dark bottles mysteriously waiting in the stores.

The bottles usually contain Rigabalzam and it is a traditional Latvian drink that a few years ago celebrated its 250th anniversary. Rigabalzam was not originally intended as an intoxicant. It would be used as medicaments, hence the addition of the word “balzam” (conditioner).

The drink is said to have healing properties because in 1752 Catherine II visited the city of Riga and got the stomach flu. She was offered Rigabalzam and then recovered.

Rigabalzam is celebrated worldwide and has won 30 international awards.

If you are in Riga and want to try a steady course of Rigabalzam you should look for “Balzam bar”. There are a variety of beverages containing balsam. If you want you to be a little healthy, choose chocolates instead of drinks that also contain Rigabalzam.

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