Aug 14, 2007

Bartender, one fermented mare's milk, please.

So, I’m surfing the Internet this morning when I should really be working, looking for interesting horsey new items…..when I discover my new favorite thing – Kumis. Why didn’t I know about this before? Fermented mare’s milk. Nutritious and alcoholic. Yummmmm….

Apparently this was (and still is) a staple of Central Asia and Mongolia. Wikipedia has this money quote: “it takes considerable skill to milk a mare.” Well, that's a shocker. I certainly wouldn’t be caught doing it. Cows have a placid look about them that none of my mares ever had. So, anyway, traditionally the milk was placed in a horsehide bag to be fermented for several days. Mare’s milk is very high in lactose, which makes it bad for people to drink fresh (think laxative, people), but the fermentation breaks it down into lactic acid, ethanol and carbon dioxide.

One site says that kumis “sparkles softly on the tongue.” Tell that to this traveler who posts on his blog: “What hits me is hard to describe. They say it’s fermented but when I leave milk out for three days at room temperature I call what happens “spoiling.” It’s sour and salty and just disgusting and then comes an aftertaste that doesn’t go away. For the next two hours I feel like I’ve fallen asleep with a piece of cheese in my mouth.” Awesome. That’s exactly what I want in a drink.

Supposedly in the early 1900s people even though that it could cure tuberculosis. For god’s sake, it’s horse milk. How does that treat disease? But this does mean, of course, that people wanted to make it at home. And lo and behold, I found this little gem - a 1909 recipe for imitating kumis. Seeing as how I can’t find it commercially available (And why not? I counted on you Internet. You were my source for everything wrong and bizarre in this world.), I might just have to make it at home with this recipe. Because I can’t just casually mention the existence of this amazing substance and not share my tasting notes. Obviously I’ll have to use cow’s milk because I’m not about to test my mad mare-milking skillz.

And for anyone who’s going to say it’s similar to kefir and not as cool as all that. I say (well wikipedia tells me) that kefir has like 0.7% alcohol content, while my homemade kumis could have up to 2.5%. I’m not doing this half-way people! If I’m going to drink [an approximated version of] mare’s milk, it better damn well get me slightly tipsy. Yeah! That’s how I roll.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Though I'm finding this post with much delay, I'm hopeful for your guts' sake that you used raw (unpasteurized) milk for your homemade kumis. If the good bacteria are not there to do their thing, you most definitely would be crying over spoiled milk!