Tovarich – David Embury

1 part Kummel

2 parts lime juice

8 parts vodka

Shake with cracked ice


The word Tovarich is Russian for comrade, and I guess has made it into an American cocktail book as there was a popular film of the same name 10 years before the book was written. The film must have been a popular one, the two lead actors had 7 academy award nominations and one win between them. It also had success as a play in London, Paris and New York prior, and was later turned into a Broadway musical starring Vivien Leigh.

Kummel is a liqueur flavoured with caraway seeds, it was originally made in Latvia and marketed as the ‘principal liqueur of Russia’. Probably slightly more familiar in a ‘Silver Bullet’ or on golf courses around the UK for some strange reason.

I’m a big fan of Kummel, I’ve used the Mentzendorff brand for this, which is the only one I’ve tried that I’d recommend. From what I understand this brand uses actual botanicals to flavour the product where as a lot of competitors use flavouring.

the drink itself is a winner, and one I will definitely have again. The kummel is strongly flavoured, although in the proportions doesn’t overpower the drink. I cannot wait to try this with different spirits, I suspect with gin it may get lost a little, but think it might work very well with white rum for a taste of Havana circa 1959?

Image below – used the last lemon so no garnish, not my best pic.

This drink has inspired me to use Kummel more, and is perfectly balanced.