Tarkhun — Georgian Tarragon Soda

Discovering Tarkhun - From Traditional Georgian Roots To Modern Flavors

Tarkhun: A Fizzy Journey Through Georgian History

The Origin Of Tarkhun

Tarkhun, more than just a carbonated soft drink, is a vibrant chapter in Georgian beverage history. It traces its origins back to 1887, in the Kutaisi Governorate of the Russian Empire, where a young Georgian pharmacist named Mitrofan Lagidze mixed tarragon extract into sparkling water and natural syrups. His innovative recipe quickly garnered international recognition, earning gold medals well before the First World War.

Tarragon Leaves
A fresh bunch of tarragon leaves, a key ingredient for the traditional Georgian Tarkhun soda.

The Soviet Era And Beyond

As the years rolled on, Tarkhun continued to evolve. In 1927, Soviet authorities established a dedicated production plant in Tbilisi, with Lagidze himself at its helm. The drink’s popularity surged across the USSR, and by the early 1980s, it was a common sight in many Soviet republics.

Modern Commercial Production In Georgia

Today, Georgia remains at the heart of Tarkhun production, celebrating its unique flavor with an array of brands. Notable names like "Natakhtari," "Zedazeni," "Zandukeli," "Kazbegi," "Laghidze," "Laghi," and "Khiliani" continue to craft this traditional beverage, each infusing their own subtle variations to the classic recipe. The modern Georgian Tarkhun, while rooted in its historic past, also reflects contemporary tastes and preferences, making it a beloved drink across generations.

Zedazeni Tarkhun Soda Bottles
A pack of Zedazeni Tarkhun soda bottles, showcasing one of Georgia's popular carbonated beverages infused with the essence of tarragon.

Tarkhun: A Homemade Delight

The story of Tarkhun is not confined to factories and brands; it also finds a place in home kitchens. Jeanette, a culinary enthusiast, recalls her introduction to the green-hued soda at a Georgian feast in 2012. Inspired by its unique anise-like flavor, she embarked on a journey to recreate this refreshing beverage at home.

Homemade Tarragon Tarkhun Drink
A refreshing setting with homemade tarragon drink, accompanied by traditional snacks and fresh herbs, ready to serve in a natural garden ambiance.

Crafting Tarkhun In Your Kitchen

Jeanette's approach to making Tarkhun involves a few simple steps:

  • Creating the Syrup: She begins by heating sugar and water, then adding tarragon, aniseed (or fennel seeds), and lemon zest, boiling everything briefly.
  • Blending and Refrigerating: After cooling, the mixture is blended with ice, then refrigerated for at least an hour and strained.
  • Final Touches: Lemon juice is stirred into the chilled syrup, which then serves as the base for Tarkhun.
  • Serving: To serve, she pours a few tablespoons of the syrup over ice in a glass and tops it with soda water.

The Homemade Experience

This homemade version of Tarkhun is a refreshing departure from its store-bought counterpart. Lacking the artificial coloring but brimming with natural flavors, it's not just a drink but an experiential journey into Georgian culture, easily replicated in any kitchen.

Read full story at JEANETTE'S HEALTHY LIVING blog
Glasses of Tarkhun - Georgian Tarragon Soda
Vibrant glasses of Tarkhun, the classic Georgian tarragon soda, garnished with fresh sprigs for an herbal touch.

Tarkhun: A Cultural And Culinary Fusion

Tarkhun is more than just a beverage; it’s a testament to Georgian ingenuity and a reflection of the region's rich culinary history. From its historical roots in the 19th century to its widespread popularity in the Soviet era and its resurgence in home kitchens, Tarkhun represents a unique fusion of history, culture, and flavor. Each sip is not just refreshing; it's a celebration of a tradition that continues to bubble through the annals of time.

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