Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

koumiss or kumiss a drink of some, but varying, alcoholic content, prepared by fermenting mare’s milk. Its existence in an only slightly alcoholic form and its value as a ‘food’ combine to justify its inclusion in the present volume.

Koumiss is still a popular drink in C. Asian countries such as Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and in Mongolia, where it is known as ayrag. It probably originated with the Turkic nomadic tribes who wandered throughout the steppes of C. Asia and China in ancient times. It was, and still is, considered to be strengthening and fattening.