Aquavit

Ein wichtiger Teil der skandinavischen Trinkkultur

Aquavit (known as akvavit) is a distinctive tasting traditional dry Scandinavian schnapps containing of various herbs and spices. The dominant herb is cumin - a close relative of parsley and coriander. For the naming, at least 37.5% vol must present according to EU requirements so that the name "Aquavit" may be used.

Linie Aquavit© linie.com

Aquavit is derived from a Latin word meaning “water of life”. Scandinavia has been producing this flavored spirit since the 15th century and apparently helped cure internal and external illnesses.

How is aquavit made?

Aquavit is produced the same way as vodka, either distilled from grain or potatoes and then filtered through charcoal. Herbs, spices, fruits, or fruit oil is added after distillation. The most common flavors are cumin, cardamom, anise, fennel, lemon and orange zest.

The Danish distillery Aalborg akvavit distilled with amber. Some Aquavit is flavoured and has a very similar taste as flavored vodka.

Cumin as a main component of aquavit

Kümmel© bonafamilie.at

The recipes and flavors differ between brands, but caraway is typically the dominant taste. Aquavit usually has a yellowish hue but can vary from clear to brown according to maturation.

Usually a darker color shows a higher age or the use of younger barrels. Clear Aquavit is called Taffel and is stored in old barrels and matured but does not change the color of the finished product.

Aquavit enjoy: how is it right?

Aquavit is an important part of the Scandinavian drinking culture, often consumed during festive events such as Christmas dinner and weddings as an aperitif. Aquavit is cooled and consumed pure in a tot glass as a sipping drink in Sweden, Denmark and Germany. Many people enjoy Aquavit as a digestive drink after a big meal.

It is very rarely used as a mix but you can find a cocktail recipe that includes this interesting spirit. Some consumers like to chase the Aquavit with a beer but other consumers believe that this ruins the taste of the Aquavit.

O.P. Anderson Klar© linie.com | Linie Aquavit

The Scandinavians and their Aquavit

In Norway most of the Aquavit is matured in oak barrels and is consumed at room temperature in tulip-shaped glasses. Aquavit is enjoyed in big quantities in Norway on special occasions such as on its Constitution Day on the 17th May.

In Denmark the Aquavit is traditionally associated with Christmas and Easter dinner.

The Swedish enjoy the spirit with dinner at the midsummer Festival (Midsommar), where the Aquavit is usually drunk with meals. During the smörgåstårta - the buffet - the spirit is served in small glasses along with pickled herring, crayfish, lutefisk or smoked fish in the circle of loved ones.

The most famous Aquavit brands

The major manufacturers include Løiten, Lysholm and Guild from Norway, Aalborg from Denmark and OP Anderson from Sweden.

While the Danish and Swedish versions are very bright, the Norwegian brand in oak barrels are matured for at least one year - some even up to 12 years, so they are usually darker.

It is common to use caramel to color the spirit.

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