Aquavit is a spirit that originated in Scandinavia sometime in the 15th century. The name originates from the Latin phrase “aqua vitae,” meaning water of life. It’s made by adding herbs and spices to a neutral spirit distilled from potatoes or grain. Caraway is almost always the most prominent spice, but fennel, dill, coriander, anise or citrus are commonly added as well. The classic, well-known version of aquavit is Linie. Linie Aquavit gets its name from its aging process: casks are loaded onto ships that travel to the southern hemisphere and back, crossing the equator (linie) twice.
Here in Minnesota we have a large Scandinavian community that has long imbibed on this Viking elixir so much that there was a downtown bar (now closed) named “Aquavit.” Many of the names such as Aalborg left the market and almost the entire U.S. for about a half decade, prompting Minnesotans to step up and make their own. Here in store we have Aquavits from Brooklyn Park (Skaalvenn), Northeast Minneapolis (Tattersall), Duluth (Vikre), and New Richmond, Wisconsin (Gamle Ode); all with different flavor profiles and cask types. Aquavit is officially back, even Aallborg made its way back this year!
Historically it is consumed as an aperitif or digestif, (or right out of the freezer like my grandpa drinks it) but that doesn’t mean it can’t make a fun cocktail! Here a couple variations on 2 classics.
Aquavit Bloody Mary: “The Nordic Snapper”
The Bloody Mary is typically made with vodka. With tequila it becomes a Bloody Maria. With Gin you ask? A Red Snapper. This makes an Aquavit bloody a Nordic Snapper.
The “Viking Mule”:
Want some zip in your Moscow Mule? Skaalvenn’s caraway and fennel forward aquavit is boosted by a pinch of Thai chili pepper to keep the spices rolling across your palate.