Tasty Aquavit Cocktails

The best aquavit cocktail ideas

Breathe new life into that dusty bottle of aquavit at the back of your drinks cupboard with these delicious cocktail ideas.

Neat aquavit may be something of an acquired taste for many around the world, but the Scandinavian spirit lends itself well to a number of delicious cocktails.

A traditional spirit

The flavoured spirit is a favourite of older Scandinavians but the new Nordic food revolution has given the spirit a new popularity among younger drinkers.

Farmer taking a drink of the traditional Norwegian spirit aquavit

Made in Norway and the other Nordic countries since the 15th century, aquavit's distinctive flavour comes from the spices and herbs. These can vary but the main flavouring must be from caraway or dill.

Find out more about aquavit here, or read on for the cocktail suggestions!

Aquavit cocktail ideas

Traditionalists will react with horror to the idea of creating a cocktail using their favourite tipple, but experimenting with drinks is all part of the fun, so go right ahead.

While we outline a few ideas below, aquavit is a versatile spirit and can be used in place of gin and vodka in most recipes, although it will add a depth of flavour that may or may not work!

As an aperitif

If you like your cocktails on the strong and bitter side then you’ll no doubt love a Negroni before dinner.

Classic Negroni made with aquavit

Aquavit really enhances the classic Negroni to give a drink that’s even more intense and complex.

Ingredients:

  • 25ml aged aquavit
  • 25ml Aperol
  • 25ml sweet vermouth

Simply add the three ingredients, in equal parts, to a tumbler over a large ice cube and stir gently to mix.

Drinking with dinner

Your choice of cocktail for dinner may depend on what you’re having to eat but you can’t go wrong with Fernando.

Ingredients:

  • 25ml aquavit
  • 25ml London dry gin
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • Dash of angostura bitters

Add all ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon peel.

For dessert

One of the best ways to finish a meal is with an espresso martini to give you a nice boost to combat the soporific effects of a good meal.

An espresso martini can be given an interesting spicy twist by replacing some of the vodka with aquavit, the Scandinavian spirit.

Substituting aquavit for some of the vodka lends the drink a slightly aromatic flavour, similar to a Turkish coffee with cardamom.

Ingredients:

  • 30ml vanilla vodka
  • 30ml aquavit
  • 15ml coffee liqueur (Kahlúa or Tia Maria)
  • 30ml freshly brewed espresso coffee

Allow the espresso to cool slightly and then pour into a shaker filled with ice. Add the vodka, aquavit and coffee liqueur and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with coffee beans.

The morning after

If you’ve overindulged the night before, the best way to get back on your feet is with a bloody mary. Aquavit lends a rich, earthy aniseed flavour to complement the savoury flavours.

Give a rich, earthy twist to a Bloody Mary by adding aquavit to the classic cocktail recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 25ml aquavit
  • 25ml vodka
  • 100ml tomato juice
  • Generous splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Generous dash of Tabasco sauce
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Celery salt

Add all ingredients to a shaker with plenty of ice and shake well. Strain into a tall glass and garnish with a slice of pickle and a stick of cucumber.

Compose your own aquavit cocktails

The best way to find cocktails that work for you is to reverse engineer some of your favourites and see how aquavit fits in. So grab a bottle and a shaker and get experimenting!

With its slightly savoury taste and bold flavour profile, aquavit lends itself to most cocktails that usually contain gin. Aquavit will also add an interesting depth of flavour to vodka-based cocktails too.

You’ll probably want to avoid anything floral, as the aniseed flavours may overpower the subtleties of rose or violet.

Most fruits and anything on the vanilla, chocolate or coffee side could find a new lease of life with a Scandinavian touch!

Always remember to drink responsibly. Skål!

Tasty aquavit cocktail ideas from Norway and Scandinavia

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About the Author: Andrew McKay

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