K is for Kümmel

Kümmel is, to say the least, an acquired taste. It's a liqueur with a strong caraway and anise flavor. Thick and sweet, a cordial of ice-cold kümmel was presented to me as a wonderful digestif, an after-dinner herbal infusion that helps to settle the stomach and aid digestion.

To be honest, it tasted to me like it would be more effective at aiding emesis than digestion, but I didn't want to be rude to my hosts.

I haven't tried a kümmel cordial in decades - the taste lingers that long in one's memory. Still, maybe I should give it another try. I used to despise Jägermeister, another herbal digestif, albeit one that is much better known to Americans. Now, I sometimes enjoy a cordial of Jägermeister, poured right from the bottle I keep in my freezer.

Is this appreciation of intense flavors the result of epicurean wisdom and a mature palate, gained through the experience of decades of adventuresome drinking? Or, now that I am past the mid-point of my life, is it a consequence of my taste buds slowly dying off, only one among the various harbingers of my inevitable (and, I hope, graceful) decline into senescence and death?

Something to think about as I sip my next glass of kümmel, anisette, or Jägermeister.

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  1. I've long considered Jägermeister to be the drink of twenty-something hardy partiers, mainly because it's the "in" thing to drink now. (If I hear "Jager bomb" ONE MORE TIME....) Personally, I think the stuff tastes like cough syrup. Bacardi 151 is a much more effective cough suppressant IMO.

    1. Any drink that uses "Jäger-" as a preface is NOT one to sip and enjoy. I admit to having tried jägerbomb, jägerbull, jägertini, etc. in a quest to find some kind of jäger- drink that wasn't horrid. No luck.

      Licorice... fiery hot sauces... jägermeister... peaty, single malt scotch... these are things I really shunned pre-30s, but now, on the back side of 45, I find myself enjoying.

  2. It sounds like thick, viscous cough syrup!


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