The Aquavit-Spiked Danish Coffee With A Unique Preparation Method

Say it with us slowly, 1-2-3-4! And, if you want to get really technical, add a Mississippi between each count. This oh-not-so-precise measuring, with practice, will pour you up ½ ounce of spirits per Mississippi, completing with the equivalent of a jigger's larger 2-ounce side, according to Wine Enthusiast. If you're unable to get your hands on a shot glass or jigger, even a solo cup can do in a tight pinch with measurement right on the cup, suggests Advanced Mixology.

But, when it's really time to get their party on, the Danes opt for a measurement method sporting a bit of showmanship in a cocktail steeped in tradition known as kaffepunch – a cocktail of black coffee and their spirit of choice – Aquavit (per Characteristically dill and coriander or caraway forward, it's rather clear in appearance, which aids in part of the preparation of the drink. Consider this concoction the 1800s answer to "an energy drink kick in the balls," as Danish folk musician and Youtuber, simply known as Habadekuk, demonstrates in his recipe in a parody, using schnapps instead of Aquavit.

Still, ask any Dane their not-so-secret rule of measurement for kaffepunch, and they'll likely say it comes down to a coin.

A pairing that inspires comfort

The drink consists of three ingredients: coffee, aquavit, and a single coin. It may seem strange, but there's a reason for the rhyme. You likely won't struggle to find the first ingredient. Americans drink their fair share of coffee (40 million cups daily), ranking as the 26th largest worldwide consumer. But, Scandinavian countries like Denmark embrace its appeal and drink over 20 thousand metric tons a year (per Statista).

But, unlike coffee, Aquavit can prove more elusive state-side.

While Danes consider it "water for life," per Star Tribune, Aquavit is on the verge of popularity in the United States with some 40 American distilleries producing it in the old-world style. If you'd prefer its New American cousin, give California-based Batch 22 a sip, which is similar to the Danish recipe, only a bit more mellow. lists a few other American distillers producing Aquavit of note, such as Spirits of French Lick and Long Road Distillers.

A hygge way to measure

It's an eyeballing kind of recipe that includes the practice of putting a coin in the bottom of a cup, followed by a skosh of coffee, and a free pour of Aquavit until you can see the coin again (via At first sip, you'll notice it's a stiff one. With an alcohol content by volume ranging from 42 – 45 percent (per Britannica), it's less about the proof and more about the potent mixture, which could explain why some folks enjoy the addition of sugar like Habadekuk does in his spoof.

Known for relishing in the art of getting cozy, the Danish have a word for it – hygge (pronounced hyoo-guh). The centuries-old term was added to the Oxford English Dictionary and loosely translates to mean enjoying the simple pleasures of life. When applied to beverages such as kaffepunch, hygee is something cookbook author Signe Johansen told The New Yorker is "healthy hedonism." And, in a place where the colder months can be brutal, author of "The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection," Louisa Thomsen Brits, told The New Yorker that hygge is, "a practical way of creating sanctuary in the middle of very real life" and "a cure for SAD —seasonal affective disorder."

If you want to try your hand at making Aquavit at home, think of it as infused vodka in which time and the added aromatics are key (via TastingTable). To show off your new house specialty – kaffepunch – you know now what to do. Get a cup, add a coin, pour coffee, then let the aquavit flow. Don't forget that the next part of cozying up Danish-style starts with a raise of the glass with friends and a cheerful "skål!" as Rasmus Amdi Larsen of Copenhagen's Restaurant Palægade states that the Scandinavian standard cheer (per TastingTable).