Aquavit comes into its own
Whiskeys from Ireland and Scotland have millions of fans worldwide, and you don't need to be on a Caribbean island to enjoy a glass of rum.
Aquavit, a Scandinavian spirit, has taken longer to catch on.
Crisp and earthy, and typically flavored with caraway, cumin, dill and anise, aquavit is beloved in Nordic countries, but an outlier on this side of the Atlantic.
Increasingly, that’s changing. In tempo with the ascension of Nordic cuisine in restaurant circles (thank you, Noma), Nordic drinks are gaining a following, with aquavit leading the charge.
Domestic producers--including North Shore Distillery near Chicago, and House Spirits in Portland, Oregon--make remarkably flavorful aquavits. The latter released a limited-edition, barrel-aged version of its Krogstad Aquavit in 2011; it sold out quickly but the unaged version ($26 for 750 ml) is still available. Earlier this year, Seattle-based Sound Spirits debuted an aquavit developed with the region’s Norwegian and Swedish heritage in mind.
Try these spirits at Nordic-oriented bars like Copper Gate in Seattle, which serves aquavit cocktails across its Viking-ship-inspired bar; and at Vandaag in New York, which has a menu of infused aquavits, and cocktails such as the Turf War, a Scandinavian spin on a classic gin drink (click here to see the recipe).