Kümmel liqueur

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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.

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