On the “easy to love” scale, some liqueurs are like St-Germain — whether or not it’s your favorite, it’s hard to really dislike the pleasingly fragrant elderflower liqueur, at least when it’s used judiciously.
And then there’s kümmel. Dating back to 16th-century Holland, the clear liqueur is flavored with caraway seed, cumin, and fennel, making it taste a bit like liquid rye bread, with anise flavors and other spices lingering around the edges. It’s smooth but intensely savory. Cocktail geeks love it. First-timers…well, it depends.
But kümmel can be amazing in cocktails. The version we’re using from Combier is 76 proof (38% alcohol) and thus is almost as boozy as a spirit; it stars both in simple highballs, and cocktails as complex as the liqueur itself. Here are three to try.