Thought to have originated with the Mongols, this acrid, slightly alcoholic beverage is made from fermented mare's or camel's milk. Like kefir, today's kumiss is more likely produced from cow's milk. It's often used as a digestive aid.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.