|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2013)|
Originally, the words kümmel, kummel, and kimmel are somewhat generic terms in the German, Dutch, and Yiddish languages, respectively, meaning both caraway and cumin. For instance, in German caraway is called Echter Kümmel and cumin is called Kreuzkümmel, but the term Kümmel is also used for the liqueur flavored with these spices.
According to the Dutch, kümmel liqueur was first distilled in Holland during the late 16th century by Lucas Bols. It was then taken to Germany and Russia; the latter is now the principal producer and consumer of kümmel.
The Berlin-made Gilka Kümmel goes through a longer distillation process and has a smoother taste than the Russian kümmels, and it has become the accepted standard of kümmel quality for the past century.
In the UK, it is a popular drink at many of the more traditional golf clubs, or as a "comedy" shot.