Killepitsch is a fairly obscure liquor made of ninety-plus herbs, fruits and nuts. We have not seen this drink for ages and ages, that is until last week. I took a suggestion from a student in my class and went to Cask, a small boutique wine and liquor shop in the South of Market neighborhood. While perusing the numerous varieties of bourbon, whiskey, scotch and tequila, I chanced on the last bottle of this drink of the gods. Wow.
Hegui and I became acquainted with this Düsseldorf speciality years ago in New York. At the time, we had a wonderful friend, Tina, who called that German city home. She was studying at a culinary school in the Big Apple when we met. As she traveled frequently back and forth, she would bring us tiny bottles of Killepitsch as treats. Sadly, we’ve lost touch over all these years. I wonder what she’s been up to lately?
After dinner drinks, or digestifs, particularly some of the brownish looking ones, aren’t always popular with dinner guests, as everyone always assumes that they’ll be quite bitter (think Cynar or Campari). Killepitsch is a pleasant surprise as it is not especially bitter but has loads of wonderful flavors! We sat sipping some the other night and came up with dozens of tastes. On the nose we noted dandelion, camphor, Angostura bitters and some intense alcohol. The top three flavors were clove, cinnamon and artichoke. But we also detected a lot of citrus like: orange peel and pith, Satsuma, blood orange and Grand Marnier. There was sage, nutmeg, thyme, molasses, wasabe, rosemary, garigue, coffee, fig, the skin of walnut and more. Really this tastes like a delightful garden poured into a glass.
Killepitsch is so aromatic and interesting that you’ll be transfixed as you ponder all of its subtle charms.