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The Making of Airag, Fermented Horses Milk


During the foaling season the Mongolian herds-people milk the mares.

This is done by leading the foal to his/her mother and allowing the foal to feed naturally for a while.

The foal is then led to one side and the mare milked, usually by the woman.

The milk is then placed in a leather bag that hangs in the South West part of the Ger (round felt tent)

where it is churned traditionally for 1000 times!

This starts the fermentation process that creates a mild alcoholic liquidy yoghurt style drink.

During the night, if you listen carefully you can hear the soft murmuring of the milk fermenting.

When a guest arrives they are traditionally asked to churn the milk in the leather bag.

The Mongolians distil the airag to make a clear spirit called shimii airag with their homemade distillery.

A bowl of airag is placed in the bottom of the metal barrel shape container,

an empty bowl is fitted inside it towards the top of the barrel

and a third bowl of cold water is placed at the top.

All of this is placed on top of the stove, which is heated by dried animal dung.

The airag is heated, evaporates and condenses on the bottom of the cold bowl and drops into the empty bowl.


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