Aquavit - Drink Secrets


Enjoying Aquavit

Aquavit has several different spellings depending upon where you get it and who you are talking to, however it is a very formal drink throughout Scandinavian culture. It was manufactured there and has the same base as vodka with a few twists and turns to make it very unique. There is a very distinct flavor and you won't be able to buy it just anywhere.

What Aquavit Is

Aquavit is distilled from grain or potatoes in the same way that vodka is made. After the distillation process, however, there are additional herbs and spices added, including:

  • Caraway
  • Amber
  • Orange peel

Each brand will have the spirit tasting just a little different, however the primary flavor is the caraway. The color of Aquavit can range from crystal clear to light brown, depending upon the aging process as well as the casks used. It will normally be a slightly yellow color, however taffel is a clear version that is aged in casks that don't affect the color of the spirit.

How to Enjoy Aquavit Best

There are many different ways to enjoy Aquavit depending upon the time of the year. It is not a very common spirit, so it is commonly brought out during the holidays in Scandinavian countries. In Denmark, it is drink during Christmas lunch and in Norway, they bring it out during special celebrations, as do the Swedish. One of the earliest references to the spirit was from a letter in 1531 by a Danish Lord offering it to the Archbishop of Norway, claiming it would help with illnesses.


Since that time, Aquavit has been very commonly enjoyed as a digestif, either straight out of the bottle or chilled. Most people drink it plain without mixing it with any other alcohols, though it can be turned into a cocktail of varying sorts. It can be poured into a glass with club soda to simply savor the herbs and spices that is in the spirit, though some will include it into a punch, depending upon what flavors is most predominant in the bottle.

Where to Buy Aquavit

Aquavit, also spelled Akvavit, may be a little hard to find. It is made throughout Scandinavia and not very commonly exported. There are several brands that manufacture it, so you will be able to look for it under a few. If you have a very large liquor store near you that specializes in some of the "hard to find" liqueurs of the world, you may be able to find it there. If not, your best bet is to head online and look for it in an online liquor store. You may need to find one that is based in Europe in order to locate a bottle, but once you get your hands on one, it will be worth the wait.


Finding Aquavit will be just half the battle, though. Some European liquor stores won't ship to the United States and when they do, shipping costs will probably be as high (if not higher) than the bottle itself.

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