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Aug 24, 2011 04:19 PM

Akvavit! Skol!

I enjoy ice-cold Akvavit, with pickled herring, or sardines, etc. (I'm of Danish heritage). Any other Akvavit fans out there? I used to buy Aalborg, but I found they change their recipe for the U. S., with added sugar, so I make my own by infusing vodka with Caraway seeds.

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  1. I'm Norwegian born and as King Olav said.... we drink it because we're Norwegian. I've had summer,fall,Christmas,regional,artisanal,small batch,export... and they all taste like over bleached socks.. Skol!!!

    1. Although I am largely of Irish descent, I have a bottle of Linie Aquavit in my bar ... I think it is Norwegian. I had Aalborg when I used to date a Northern German woman and we were near the Danish border. Out of the two, I'm more partial to the Linie ...

      10 Replies
      1. re: hawkeyeui93

        I haven't had Linie yet, though I've heard it's good. There are others in the Aalborg range I'd like to try, but I guess I'll have to get to Denmark again...

        1. re: tommymeboy

          It has an awesome backstory [in that it is put in barrels and placed in a ship and crosses the equator and returns to Norway before being bottled].

        2. re: hawkeyeui93

          Linie is indeed made in Norway.

          We drink bottles of it every year for our Xmas smörgåsbord/party. Served cold and neat. Any other way would not fly in our house.

          My dad's side is all Norwegian and we have lots of relatives back in the home country.

          To "Duppie", Thor needs to bludgeon you with his hammer! JK!

          1. re: vinosnob

            My family is from the Vestafold region and we have 3 producers of Aquavit that makes several blends for each season as well as for holidays such as Christmas,Easter,Solstice ect.
            They all taste like bilge water mixed with old solvent so I finally asked a friend who fancies himself somewhat of a connoisseur, why do people drink this stuff? and his exact words were "we have to... we're Norwegian".
            Reminds me of the story of how Jagermeister went from a tonic for bilious old men to hot shots in college bars all with some smart marketing.

            1. re: Duppie

              Sounds like you need to drink some new aquavit! ;) Seriously, there's a lot of tradition steeped in this spirit so I hear what you're saying.

              Do you like caraway?

              1. re: vinosnob

                I just spent almost a year in Norway and Sweden recently and tried pretty much everything old and new. Even as a child I remember the obligatory bottle of Aquavit that my dad and his friends would have a couple of shots at Christmas and Independence day but it would last several years because they never really liked it.
                I'm a Gin man so I'm not opposed to some herbal qualities but tradition or not, Aquavit IMHO will always be a novelty at the very least and a arcane throwback at the most....Akin to Gjetost.

                1. re: Duppie

                  I don't find many similarities between aquavit and gin at all but ymmv.

                  Like grappa or ouzo, aquavit is an acquired taste; I dislike the two former ones.

                  BTW, I like gjetost too! And (real) nøkkelost if I can find it.

                  1. re: vinosnob

                    So be it... you're quite welcome to my dram,If ever in NYC, check out Murry's in the west village for Nokkelost and if memory serves me there is an excellent shop in Seattle that imports provisions from Scandinavia for mail order. Every thing from Sil to Summer salad.I'll see if I can find the name.

          2. re: hawkeyeui93

            I lived in Norway and very much prefer Linje to Aalborg. I get a kick out of looking at the back of the label and seeing the date and location the aquavit crossed the equator. Linje means equator in this case. They say the constant rocking of the aquavit in the ship's balast makes for a smoother drink.

          3. I picked up a bottle of Aalborg on vacation and haven't figured out what to do with it, what are some ideas?

            7 Replies
            1. re: ncyankee101

              As Vinosnob put it, "cold and neat" is how you drink it. I keep mine in the freezer, along with the glasses. It's always drunk with food, though, often at lunch! When I learned to drink it as a youth, I was in Denmark at a relative's, she would fill me full of lunch and Snaps, and send me out on her bicycle to sightsee. Hard to sightsee when your eyes are crossed!

              1. re: tommymeboy

                I don't really find it flavorful enough to drink on the rocks, it kind of reminds me of watered down Ouzo - in fact I drank Ouzo last night right after I drank the Akvavit and enjoyed it so much more. I would rather find some cocktails that might benefit from the subtle spice.

                1. re: ncyankee101

                  Yankee: I'm not a fan of the black licorice taste, but here's one called a "compliment": Mix 2:1 shots gin/aquavit with a half of shot of maraschino liqueur and an orange peel ...

                  1. re: hawkeyeui93

                    Hawkeye - a recent discussion on aquavit led me back to this thread, and I tried this drink (which I must have missed when you originally posted.)

                    I have to say I find the combination of flavors interesting and unusual, thanks for the suggestion. I might cut back the maraschino a little as it really seems to dominate the drink, a little goes a long way.

                    1. re: ncyankee101

                      I thought it was a little aggressive too [with the maraschino], but I did like it in the totality of the drink though.

                    2. re: hawkeyeui93

                      Hawkeye: I must try this as I am a black licorice enthusiast!

                2. re: ncyankee101

                  It makes a terrific Bloody Mary.

                3. Bought some North Shore Aquavit for my son in law (and myself). See K&L Wines, Hollywood, or their website. I know I know. Not Danish aquavit (Aalborg), but excellent! Mixed with Peter Heering, a very nice cocktail. Don't forget to add a Luxardo cherry. Very nice touch. Being as how I don't have quite the stamina of my Danich ancestors, I add a splash of sparking water or club soda. Skaol!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: valverity

                    I agree that the North Shore Aquavit is excellent. It's one of my favorites.

                  2. Please share your recipe with us. Aalborg doesn't ship to the U. S. anymore, so we need to make our own. I do prefer the caraway-flavored over the licorice, dill, etc. Aalborg Tafel (the original, once in the green bottle, more recently the clear bottle) is pitched as 'with caraway flavor and the slightest hint of orange.' I guess it must be as easy as infusing vodka (your preferred brand is? Potato or grain?) with some caraway seeds, but what proportions, and do you toast and crush the seeds first? Any orange peel for you? Thanks.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: mcmannis

                      Sure, mcmannis, I use grain vodka (usually Gordon's) and I infuse with a generous Tablespoon of Caraway seeds which I toast in a pan just until I see some oil on them, and I add a 1/4 tsp. of dried Orange peel. Infuse it for a week (out of the light) then strain it with a coffee filter into your decanter. It's golden-colored and reminds me of the Taffel, but better, If I may say so!

                      1. re: tommymeboy

                        Thanks, Tommy. Just two more questions. Is that a 750ml bottle of vodka? After toasting the caraway seeds do you crush them before adding to the vodka? I have my vodka, my caraway seeds, my orange peel (no white stuff on the back!) and I'm underway as soon as I hear from you.

                        1. re: mcmannis

                          Right, mcmannis, I have a carafe that I use for infusing- I just put the seeds in whole, and the orange, then pour in the 750 ml. of vodka. Good luck!

                          1. re: tommymeboy

                            T: OK, whole seeds in 750 ML of vodka, dash of orange peel. Sounds simple enough. I'll report back in a week-to-10 days. Thanks again.


                              1. re: tommymeboy

                                I have a bottle infusing with your recipe that will hit the one week mark on Sunday, so hopefully I can get back to you next week.

                                1. re: tommymeboy

                                  Am I glad you posted this! For days I haven't been able to find this thread to respond and report back. In fact, I spent time on chowhound today without success. But they just emailed me that you responded, so here we are.

                                  tommymeboy, you are meman! I LOVE your recipe. I gave my wife a chilled glass of our "tommy's aquavit" (both from the freezer) and said that you believe it's better than the original, Aalborg Taffel, that we grew up on. She said, and I agree, "I believe it is!" That's from two aquavit drinkers that started in the mid-60's! In fact, 50 years ago this summer for me.

                                  A side note. I wonder how Aalborg clarified their original. Mine (yours) is a beautiful what, dark amber or light caramel color? I don't care about that, in fact I like it, just curious.

                                  1. re: mcmannis

                                    mcmannis, I'm chuffed that it turned out well for you and your wife! I also like the color. I've never tried Aalborg Jubilaeums, but understand it's also golden. BHAppeal, let us know how yours turned out. Skol!

                                    1. re: tommymeboy

                                      I've tried all Aquavits I can find locally (suburban Chicago, so that's a lot). Maybe it's partly because I weaned on Aalborg Taffel, but I prefer the caraway-infused. I am not enamored of the Aquavits that taste like pickle juice, licorice, and the like. To each his own.

                                      Moving on, are there other infusions that you do that you will share with us?

                                      1. re: tommymeboy

                                        Filtered the batch, chilled some in the freezer and I am happy to say that it is absolutely delicious. Had a bottle of Aalborg Taffel lingering in a cabinet and compared them straight up -- your infused version was far superior. It had a much deeper flavor, with a richness the Aalborg simply lacked. (The latter had a harsher alcoholic tinge, with the infused version much smoother even though I did not use a fancy vodka -- just some basic Smirnoff. Maybe that's why I never finished the Aalborg --too rough after they changed from the green to clear bottle several years ago....)

                                        I am a long time Aquavit fan, cutting my teeth on it 35 plus years ago in Los Angeles at long gone (and missed) Scandia restaurant, over plates of three types of herring, some good dark bread and chased with a Carlsberg Elephant. This version is really worth making. Thank you so much for posting and providing such clear instructions.

                                        The Jubilaeums always had a pronounced anise flavor to me --maybe I will tinker with a version combining the Caraway and dried orange peel with a hint of star anise and dill and see what comes up.....

                                        As for duplicating Linie - I guess I could really push up the anise flavor (it always seemed the strongest flavor in Linie Aquavit to me) but I unfortunately lack the time to stow it on a boat for an an ocean voyage, though I suppose I could make a batch and leave it in the trunk of my car for a couple of months and see what transpires.

                                        1. re: BHAppeal


                                          Be sure to put your home made Linie in just the right kind of wooden cask before placing in your car trunk. Plus, be sure to drive across a state line and back - the word Linie means something, you know. :)

                                          Not only is "our" version of Tommymeboy Taffel better, it's much cheaper. I used Sobieski the first time then I used Costco's Kirkland vodka (the filtered-six-times version, not the inferior French version). Works just as good as more expensive vodkas. About $14 for a 1.75L bottle. That makes two 750ML bottles of "our" Aquavit versus about 60 dollars for two bottles of Aalborg Taffel at the retail price (plus tax) before Aalborg stopped shipping it to the US. Plus, 25ML for a martini while starting your batch of Aquavit.