During Soviet times, and even in the ‘90s when I lived in Ukraine, soda and fruit juices were luxuries reserved for special occasions. They were readily available in stores but not affordable for the general public, my family included. Kampot, a homemade fruit drink, was a much more popular choice for everyday consumption. Fresh seasonal fruits were affordable and available for everyone, and there was always a caring mommy or grandma to make enough for a few days ahead. In America, most people can afford to buy all the soda they can drink, and then some. (However, most Russians here inexplicably gravitate towards seltzer water [?]) Here, it is a luxury and a pleasant surprise to come across homemade kampot; and it is always welcomed with open arms. This mostly happens in Russian restaurants and diners, as few bother to make anything at home anymore.
Earlier this week, a co-worker was telling me about how she still makes kampot all the time and she inspired me to follow suit. Kampot is very easy to make and most of the cooking/prep time is inactive. Fruits and sugar are boiled with water for about 45 minutes and then the mixture is refrigerated. Any variety of fresh or dried fruits will do, however, apples and sour cherries are the usual suspects. The end product is refreshing, satisfying and slightly reminiscent of fruit punch.
For this, I used one apple, one pear, the peel of half an orange, a handful of dried cranberries and two tablespoons of sugar, for five cups of water. This is how it’s done: