Continuing with kummel, this drink is featured on the side of the Fees Peach Bitters. Kummel with peach bitters. . . How is that for obscure? But that’s not all. Just when things are threatening to get a bit high brow, in goes a big dose of crème de menthe. I have nothing against crème de menthe, but it isn’t the most subtle or complex taste, and it tends to make rather one dimensional drinks. Still, I’ve said similar things about kummel being a very assertive flavor. So lets see how kummel goes pitted against crème de menthe. . .
There are a few different recipes around for this one. I didn’t go with the recipe on the side of the Peach Bitters bottle because it called for sour mix. Who wants to use sour mix when you could be using fresh juice? Instead I got one from CocktailDB.
1 ½ oz gin (Tanqueray)
½ oz crÃ¨me de menthe (Marie Brizard)
½ oz kummel (Wolfschmidt)
½ oz lemon juice
4 dashes peach bitters (Fees – it’s a light tasting product, so I used several big shakes that probably added up to about a teaspoon).
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
The verdict? Lets start with the appearance. A green drink is always a bit of fun. When I about six years old I remember thinking green drinks in small glasses looked very grown up and exotic. I had a lot to learn. Mind you, even at a young age my taste in green drinks was impeccable. My first experience with a green drink would have been aged around 2 years old (probably even younger) when I somehow disposed of a bottle of green Chartreuse. My parents allegedly found me asleep with the empty bottle. The feat still impresses me. Probably I didn’t really drink the stuff. Maybe I tipped it down a drain or something. Tipping away perfectly good Chartreuse seems uncharacteristic of me though, while having drunk a bottle of Chartreuse as a baby could possibly explain a few things. Anyway the Green Dragon gets points for being green. Cool.
On to the taste. . . There is a surprisingly strong aroma of peaches from the bitters. I was surprised that aroma came through the mint so clearly. On actually tasting, the main impression, as with so many crème de menthe drinks, is of toothpaste. In this case the toothpaste sensation is heightened by the lemon juice. Now just so everyone is clear exactly what I mean here, I am not talking about the simple mint taste possessed by toothpaste in its natural, freshly squeezed, state. Rather I mean the slightly mixed up mint flavor you get halfway through brushing, after the toothpaste has got a chance to get to know whatever it is supposed to be cleaning off your teeth. That description doesn’t sound promising, but fortunately it is not the full story. Some interest is provided by a big caraway aftertaste, plus a hint of fruit from the bitters. The gin is there too, but doesn’t jump out at you like the other ingredients. It all makes for an unusual experience. Incidentally, in the dust up between creme de menthe and kummel it is the creme de menthe that cleans up. The Kummel is more an undercurrent. Perhaps it makes you wonder if somebody switched your regular toothpaste for some exotic Eastern European brand with a caraway flavor.
Why this drink is on the side of the peach bitters bottle I really have no idea. Who imagined this drink was going to help sell peach bitters? The name is cool enough. Plus I suppose the oddness of the thing demonstrates that peach bitters are highly versatile. Having drunk this you will realize that peach bitters have a myriad of uses, not all of which are advisable. The mere fact that the peach bitters shine through such a bizarre concoction is in itself also something of a recommendation I guess. But who is this thing supposed to appeal to? I am pretty open minded when it comes to drinks and I just don’t get it. It is simply odd. I think I’d rather have a simple Gin Stinger (i.e. gin and creme de menthe). Or maybe even a Gin Stinger with a dash of kummel? Come to think of it that idea just may be a worthy variation on the gin stinger theme. Once again could it be the lemon juice that is messing the drink up for me?