What is 'kumis'?
'Kumis' is a fermented dairy product traditionally made from mare milk or donkey milk. The drink remains important to the peoples of the Central Asian steppes, of Turkic and Mongol origin: Kazakhs, Bashkirs, Kalmyks, Kyrgyz, Mongols, and Yakuts. 'Kumis' was historically consumed by the Khitans, Jurchens, Hungarians, and Han Chinese of North China as well.
In modern controlled production, the initial fermentation takes two to five hours at a temperature of around 27 °C (81 °F); this may be followed by a cooler aging period. The finished product contains between 0.7 and 2.5% alcohol.
'Kumis' is usually served cold or chilled. Traditionally it is sipped out of small, handle-less, bowl-shaped cups or saucers, called 'piyala'.