A Primer on Aquavit


Some of the aquavits on offer at Broder Cafe in Portland, Oregon, which has the largest selection on the West coast.

Of the many Scandinavian exports that have been embraced by the world, from the concept of hygge to self-assembled home furnishings, aquavit remains somewhat under-appreciated in the United State. But boosters have been advocating on the spirit’s behalf, drawn attention to its diverse straddle of spices and adaptability in concoctions.” I got into aquavit when almost all of the imported labels had disappeared from the U.S. and there were just a few American distilleries “re really starting to” make it ,” says Jacob Grier, Portland, Oregon-based bartender and founder of Aquavit Week.” As I tried the few bottles I could get my hands on, I realise it was a really diverse list that wasn’t getting the attention it deserved .”

In our September/ October 2019 issue, we explore how the traditional Nordic spirit is frame beckons stateside, with more than a dozen distilleries making their own version and bartenders coming experimental with the broad masses of the, botanical spice sketches. Consider this your aquavit primer to get better acquainted with the intent, from its historic springs to its modern resurgence.

History Lesson The firstly known reference to aquavit was found in a letter dated 1531 from a Danish sovereign to the archbishop of Norway, which supposedly included a small bottle of the spiced alcohol and a hope that it would help with any” illness that a lover can have .” At that time it was referred to as aqua vitae, Latin for” sea of life ,” until becoming known as aquavit( also called akvavit or snarls ). Initially distilled from wine–and imported wine-colored at that–the spirit was expensive to produce. It was supposedly Swedish soldiers who first began to distill it from fermented particle, and in the 18 th century potatoes became widely used as the locate part. Over centuries of make, aquavit has become cuddled as the national spirit of Scandinavia. Today it remains closely confined to heritage and is regularly depleted during festivities and celebratory feasts, or simply with friends and food at a midday smorgasboard with the traditional toast of “skal!”

Okay, But What Is It? Aquavit is a neutral intent purified from either particles or potatoes and flavored with botanicals. While the botanical greenback can vary widely from label to label, EU regulation dictates that to be labeled an aquavit, the spirit must be flavored with caraway, dill or both and be bottled at a minimum concentration of 37.5 percentage.” There’s always caraway or dill, just as with gin there’s always juniper ,” illustrates Grier.” But most aquavits will too bring in some other parts, extremely. Fennel, coriander, anise, citrus rind and cinnamon are some of the common ones, but there’s really no restriction. Moss, amber, rye bread and oyster shells are some of the more exotic additives you might encounter .” The spirit’s medicine after distillation can vary as well. Some aquavits are bottled without aging to highlight the botanical flavors, while barrel-aged accounts are amber in colour with” so much oak influence that they’re more suggestive of a whiskey ,” says Grier.” It’s a very broad category, which is something that constructs it so fun .”

Modern Love Traditional Nordic brands like O.P. Anderson from Sweden, Aalborg from Denmark and Linie from Norway are more available in the U.S. these days as interest in the feeling stretches. And more American plane distillers are adding aquavit to their lineups, from early adopters like House Force’ Krogstad Aquavit to beginners like Brooklyn’s Svol Aquavit, whose aim is to produce a heart exclusively for desegregating in concoctions.” It’s a surprisingly versatile flavor. You want a character that’s brilliant and herbaceous? There’s an aquavit for that. You miss a flavor that’s spicy and savory? There’s an aquavit for that. You want a flavour that’s rich, complex and oaky? There’s an aquavit for that, more ,” says Grier.” It also plays well in split-base cocktails that use aquavit as a augment to more familiar spirits like whiskey, gin, tequila or mezcal. There’s really nothing aquavit can’t do .” For a more in-depth look at modern-day aquavit, pick up a duplicate of the Sept/ Oct 2019 publish .

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