With powerful, lifted aromas of aniseed, liquorice and cumin, this sweet liqueur is a wonderful way to end a meal.
1823 saw the foundation of a Russian distillery in the village of Allasch, in the region of Livonia near Russia's Baltic Port of Riga. The Allasch distillery was the concept of the Dutch aristocrat, Baron von Blanckenhagen and was built on his family's large country estate. Over twenty or so years the Allasch distillery quietly developed its business, establishing a reputation for its Kummel, the schnapps-like liqueur flavoured with caraway seed. During this time other European Liqueur manufacturers began to imitate the increasing famous liqueur; however none succeeded to match the genuine finesse of the original recipe. In the early 1850's a talented export manager named Ludwig Mentzendorff arranged the now popular liqueur for export to the UK under the name "Mentzendorff Kummel". Mentzendorff Kummel has been distilled for us, true to the original recipe by Combier Distillery, Loire Valley since 1985 in their world famous distillery designed by Gustave Eiffel.
Caraway seed is placed into vats with natural alcohol derived from sugar beet. The pot stills are steam heated for 7 hours. The steam is passed under the stills at 152oC at 7 bar pressure. At this temperature it takes 20 minutes for the still to start boiling. Once the distillate passes through the cooling pipes it is collected in inert tubs. To produce the clarity of flavour Mentzendorff Kummel is double distilled. During the first distillation, the heart is collected at 85-86o and is retained, the tails are also kept, however the unstable heads are disposed of. The hearts and the tails together undergo a second distillation from which only the hearts are collected.
This clear, stable liquid is transferred to stainless steel vats where it is mixed with sugar and reduced to 38% abv with ionised water. It remains in these vats for two months prior to bottling. Prior to bottling each bottle or magnum is rinsed with neutral spirit. Once filled each individual bottle is wax sealed by hand.
Finally of course, a stomach settling glass of Mentzendorff Kummel, gripe water for grown-ups, an essential part of any Christmas. Jonathan Ray, GQ Magazine, January 2011