Aquavit for Whisky Lovers






With origins courting again to the fifteenth century, aquavit is a Scandinavian specialty. “The story goes that distilled spirits arrived in Scandinavia through Hanseatic League commerce (circa 1200-1500), and as with many spirits again then, most had been garbage, so the locals would taste the tough spirit with regional flavorings—within the case of most Scandinavian international locations, that might be predominantly caraway and dill,” says Christian Krogstad, founder and grasp distiller of Krogstad Aquavit, which is produced in Portland, Oregon at Home Spirits Distillery, house of Westward Whiskey. “Finally they discovered that the flavors might be refined by redistillation of this maceration, and that’s how aquavit remains to be made immediately.”

Aquavit (additionally spelled akvavit), which will get its title from the Latin aqua vitae, actually “water of life,” begins as a impartial spirit distilled from grain or potato that’s then infused with botanicals and distilled once more. EU regulation says that the botanical make-up should embrace caraway, dill, or each, whereas the U.S. solely requires caraway. Any variety of different herbs and botanicals will be included, like anise, fennel, cardamom, coriander, citrus peel, and cumin. You will discover loads of imported aquavit right here within the States and there are additionally greater than 50 American variations of this spice-forward spirit to discover.

“Each caraway and dill seeds include a taste compound referred to as carvone, which offers the attribute aquavit taste of rye and minty notes,” says Morten Thyregod Paulsen, blender and senior product developer for Anora Group, which produces Aalborg, Lysholm Linie, and O.P. Anderson aquavits. “Caraway is a really advanced botanical with further notes of anise and citrus, whereas dill has extra natural and floral notes.”

Growing old aquavit isn’t required, however it’s frequent in Norway and sure different locations; for whisky followers, barrel-aged aquavit is prone to be particularly interesting. “Cask maturation mellows the botanical notes in aquavit and introduces typical cask aromas reminiscent of vanilla, caramel, and woody notes over time,” Paulson says, mentioning that whereas unaged aquavits are sometimes in comparison with gin, barrel-aged aquavits are extra alongside the traces of a spicy rye whiskey.

“I’d undoubtedly advocate {that a} whisky drinker begins with an aged aquavit,” says Sonja Kassebaum, co-founder and co-owner of North Shore Distillery in Inexperienced Oaks, Illinois, producer of North Shore Personal Reserve aquavit. “The spherical notes of oak and honey shall be acquainted, combined in with an intriguing mix of savory spice notes. In contrast to with most whisky, the barrel performs a supporting function slightly than a number one one in an aged aquavit, so slightly than being the first supply of taste, the wooden publicity helps meld the spice flavors collectively, however the spices stay main on the palate.”

Aquavit is historically served chilled and neat, and a neat aquavit goes fantastically effectively with seafood. Nevertheless it’s additionally a flexible cocktail ingredient. Dan Oskey, founder and chief operator of Tattersall Distilling in Minneapolis, notes that their aquavit works surprisingly effectively in an Previous Common. Krogstad, in the meantime, says that one of the vital fascinating drinks he’s had with aquavit was a Sazerac that, as a substitute of an absinthe rinse, used a half-ounce of a licorice-forward aquavit. “You get the great botanical licorice taste, and it lightens up the palate a bit,” he says.


6 Aquavits to Strive

Aalborg Jubilaeums, 40%, $25

This Danish aquavit contains a impartial grain base and dill and coriander in its botanical make-up; it affords flavors of rye and caramel, with a spicy warming end. Whereas this aquavit is unaged, American oak chips are included within the maceration, imparting shade and taste to the ultimate liquid.

Krogstad Gamle, 42%, $40

Distilled from corn and flavored with a mix of caraway and star anise, this aquavit from Portland, Oregon has a creamy mouthfeel and is nice with a slight chunk. Floral and natural flavors of caraway mingle with a little bit of caramel, vanilla, and tannin from getting old not less than 1 yr in French oak barrels that beforehand held Oregon pinot noir.

Lysholm Linie, 41.5%, $30

This Norwegian potato-based aquavit dates again to 1821. It’s distilled with caraway and star anise and aged 16 months in sherry casks—12 months in a warehouse after which 4 months on a ship at sea, crossing the equator twice. Flavors of star anise, licorice, and citrus combine with notes of vanilla and oak, then rye spiciness provides approach to a heat end.

North Shore Personal Reserve, 45%, $30

Produced in Inexperienced Oaks, Illinois, this caraway- ahead aquavit is distilled from a mix of wheat and corn and contains a vary of further herbs and spices, together with cumin, coriander, and cinnamon. A spicy, savory, and nuanced palate is layered with caraway, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom notes and has an extended, spherical end with oak, honey, and baking spices from getting old round 6 months in new American oak.

O.P. Anderson, 40%, $35

Relationship again to 1891, this Swedish wheat-based aquavit options caraway, anise, and fennel in its botanical make-up, and is aged 6 months in oak barrels which might be 100-plus years outdated. The flavors are natural and floral, with notes of anise and licorice, plus hints of citrus and a spicy, heat end.

Tattersall, 40%, $30

Produced in Minneapolis, this corn-based aquavit is crafted from a mix of botanicals anchored by caraway and fennel. Smooth licorice is complemented by pumpernickel rye on the palate, with hints of citrus, oak, and baking spice. Notes of heat spice are additional accentuated by getting old within the distillery’s rye whiskey barrels for 1 yr.

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