Words by: Simon Difford
Kümmel is a sweet clear digestive liqueur is distilled from grain or potatoes and flavoured with caraway seeds, cumin, fennel, orris and other herbs. Kümmel is said to have been developed by the Dutch distiller Lucas Bols in the late sixteenth century, with the first written recipe dating back to 1575.
It is said that Peter the Great was working incognito as a labourer in the Netherlands to gain shipbuilding knowledge with a view to building a Russian navy when he tried Bols Kümmel. He took the drink back east where it later reappeared centuries later as a sweet liqueur under the brand name of Mentzendorff.
The origins of this liqueurs name lie in the generic names for the keys spices with which it is flavoured. In German caraway is called Echter Kümmel and cumin Kreuzkümmel, while kummel is the term for caraway and cumin in Dutch and the same is true of kimmel in Yiddish.
Although this liqueur's origins are thought to be Dutch, Russia is now the largest producer and consumer of kümmel.
Combier first released a form of this product in the 1850's but it was discontinued. They re-released it according to the original recipe with twice the amount, doppelt meaning double, of botanical bill. It is a combination of 3 seeds, caraway, cumin and fennel. Cumin dominates with leathery caraway and more subdued aniseed fennel.
A Dutch made Kummel. The Wolfschmidt name dates back to a distillery at Riga, Latvia which supplied 'ochishchenoje stolovoje vino' (rectified table wine, vodka) to Russian tsars Nikolaj I and Alexander III. Wolfschmidt vodka was introduced into the US in 1847 where the name is now owned by Beam Inc. Clean and pungent, caraway, aniseed and mint with faint note of citrus.
This digestif liqueur is made by macerating caraway seeds for 12 hours overnight in a pot still charged with neutral alcohol and water. Distillation starts in the morning and lasts for seven hours. The distillate is mixed with water and sugar before filtering and bottling. Less pronounced caraway but with old fashioned liquorice, teak oil and spearmint.
A caraway and cumin-flavoured semi sweet liqueur from Schilkin, a company whose distilling history stretches back to the beginning of the 20th century when the Schilkin family were given the Russian court's approval in recognition of the vodkas they were producing. Clean caraway and cumin with rye aromas and faint cucumber flesh.
Showing results per page