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WRITTEN BY HARRY HALLER 

AIRAG

Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun were fans. Its purported medicinal properties led the likes of Leo Tolstoy, Maxim Gorky, the Russian imperial family, and even British members of Parliament to venture to the outer reaches of Central Asia to consume the beverage. When Hillary Clinton tried it, she said it tasted like yogurt. Others have described it as reminiscent of stomach bile. Depending on where it's being served, it is known as airag, gimiz, qimiz, kumiss,

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kumiz, koumiss, kymys, kymyz, kumisz, kymyz, gymyz, or kymys. In the West it was often referred to as "milk champagne." It is also one of the three most ancient alcoholic beverages, sharing that honor with mead and beer. However, unlike beer, mead, wine, sake, or most any distilled spirits, this unofficial national drink of Mongolia is not made from a plant-based feedstock. It is made from milk. Specifically, horse milk.

ILLUSTRATED BY FRANCESCA COSANTI

With 40% more lactose than cow’s milk, mare's milk lends itself to a more viable fermentation. That appears to be the only upside. There are downsides aplenty. For one, it is not only somewhat challenging, but actually dangerous, to milk a mare. You need to allow the foal to begin suckling, pull it off the teat, then keep the little one beside you as you milk mama. Two, the

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Artisan Spirit: Winter 2017  
Artisan Spirit: Winter 2017  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.