Drinks

How to Make Aquavit, the Spirit Everyone in Denmark Drinks

It's so easy, practically every Danish household has their own recipe
How to Make Aquavit, the Easiest Homemade Spirit Ever
Photo: Aalborg Akvavit via Facebook

Maybe you’ve dabbled in homebrewing beer or attempted homemade Irish Cream. But if you really want to impress people over the holidays, try making the spirit that’s so simple to pull together, nearly every household in Denmark has their own recipe. It’s time to make aquavit.

Before you quietly panic, hear us out. If you’ve never heard of aquavit or think it sounds really fancy, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

Aquavit is basically infused vodka. All you do is mix aromatics, spices or herbs into vodka and let it sit.

That’s it. You got this.


The vodka can infuse for anywhere between 24 hours to a year or two, depending on how seasoned you want your drink to be. Traditional spices include caraway and dill, but you can go nuts with your flavors. Seriously. Katherine Simonson, who was born and raised in Denmark and now lives in NYC, says her favorite kind of aquavit is made with walnuts.

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“It has the color of amber and is so good with rye bread,” she says of this Christmas tradition. “You pick the walnuts when they are green, pour vodka and let it sit in a closed container. During the first month, it turns black, and you have to stir it from time to time. And then you put it in a dark cupboard and forget about it for two years.” The anticipation alone would be enough to make it taste good.

Cumin, cloves and anise are also popular spices to use, and you can always throw in a citrus rind, too. Some of the more unique varieties include wormwood, nettles and rose hip.

Coming in at about 40 percent alcohol, aquavit is strong, so it’s a sip-and-savor drink. But the most important thing to remember?  Rasmus Amdi Larsen of Copenhagen’s Restaurant Palægade insists, “When drinking snaps, you always say skål.” So, skål!

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