Mehxosh

Although this drink made with grapes and pomegranates it is still similar to wine, however, its preparation is much more laborious.

In fact, the traditional preparation process involves two different steps. The first is the processing of pomegranate.

The pomegranates ripen during October and November, the juice is squeezed immediately after the fruit is harvested. This process takes place during the coolest and windiest hours of the day, i.e. from 5 to 7 in the morning, and the fruit juice that is obtained is stored in sealed containers, in a vacuum, at a depth of two meters below the ground or in cold rooms, and they are not moved until the grapes ripen in the following year.

The ripening season for red grapes is instead between August and September. After the grapes are harvested they are fermented. The liquid is continuously stirred for three weeks, the fermented product is separated from the grape pulp and the juice is mixed with the pomegranate juice that has been stored in the previous months. Thus, begins the second period of time where the product undergoes “rapid fermentation” and also here it must be placed in a warm but shaded location with no oxygen. The resulting product is then filtered when it reaches a burgundy-red colour and then diluted. The filtered product is then placed in large bottles and stored in a cool place and after another week it is then filtered again. Subsequently the wine begins to mature. The scent and acidity of the pomegranate are evident because the product comes from a mixture of two fruits and the protein enzymes of this fruit are stronger than those of the grapes.

Mehxosh is currently consumed at home by a few families. Although it can be categorized as a type of wine, in the past it was used not only as a drink, but also as a remedy for cardiovascular diseases thanks to the antioxidant properties of the two fruits.

Since pomegranates have always played a special role in Azerbaijan’s territory and food culture, it is inevitable that locals would have always used pomegranates to make vinegar, with doshab and wine on their tables, Mehxosh has played an important role gastronomically in the country. Nevertheless, this product is currently prepared and known by very few people. There is no information or written recipes available.

In the past it was produced in the area of the former Borchali district (now Kvato Karteli) and in the Gazaz region of Azerbaijan. The communities which are of German origin of the Caucasus established in the district of Borchali and in the Caucasus in general in the 19th century, and therefore called Kaukasiendeutsche, believed that pomegranates were a long lasting remedy for diseases. The Germans, who were devoted to viticulture and agricultural activities in general, produced this type of wine at home not only in Borchali, but also in Helenedorf (now Goygol).