Before we get to the homemade Aquavit recipe, we should first look briefly at its history and what Aquavit actually is.
What is aquavit?
Aquavit (also called akvavit and akevit) is a traditional Scandinavian, mainly Danish alcohol drink, manufactured and consumed widely since the 15th century. Its name is derived from the Latin phrase aqua vitae, “water of life”.
It is produced by distilling grain (95% wheat) and potatoes (5% potatoes) . It is then infused with aromatic herbs (anise, cumin, fennel, coriander, dill, and others). It’s about 45% alcohol.
In Denmark, Aalborg is one of the most famous brands. In Norway, it is Gilde and Løiten’s Linie, while in Sweden, it is O. P. Anderson who is the most famous manufacturer. The Norwegian aquavit is said to be more fragrant and more colorful.
There is also a Danish aquavit distilled with amber. A particular type of Aquavit, called aquavit Linie, is shipped twice over the equator, before its producer puts it up for sale. “Linie” means “Ecuador”. The producer of the Aquavit Linie claims that the sea air, the temperature variations and the movement of the ships give a more refined aquavit.
History of aquavit
In the early years of its existence, aquavit was used as a remedy to facilitate digestion. This could be the reason why it is commonly used in the Scandinavian countries during family celebrations, Christmas, or New Year’s day. It helps digestion when you eat meals that are too heavy – such as pork ribs and stick meat (lamb chops) .
A similar drink used mostly as a natural traditional remedy in Europe is the Swedish bitters. You can make Swedish bitter at home too.
How to drink aquavit?
Savvy amateurs prefer drinking aquavit with a few years of maturity. The Norwegians prefer to drink it at room temperature.
It is usually in tall glasses so that the drinker’s hand does not warm the liquor. Tradition dictates that we hold the glass from the top. Some drinkers prefer to drink it all at once, because they find the taste of aquavit a little too strong.
Lovers of aquavit, however, prefer to taste it slowly to obtain the full nuanced flavor of its aromas.
Cocktails that can be made with aquavit and their ingredients
- Aquavit Alexander: aquavit, cocoa crème, crème fraîche.
- Viking: kirsch, aquavit, vodka, green mint cream, Perrier.
- Aquavit Russell Rosalind: aquavit, dry vermouth, lemon zest.
- Mercury Sailor: aquavit, orange liqueur, lemon juice, ice.
- North cape: cream, mint green, walnut wine, aquavit.
Aquavit health effects and contraindications
Alcohol is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Alcohol consumption is not recommended during pregnancy because the alcohol consumed by the mother affects the fetus, which is fed through the umbilical cord. Since alcohol is also found in breast milk, it is not recommended for young mothers who are breastfeeding to drink alcohol.
No or very little alcohol for drivers
In Europe , it’s forbidden to drive with an alcohol level equal to or greater than 0.5 gr per litre of blood, or 0.25 mg of alcohol per litre of breath. This represents about half a beer, two small glasses of wine or 6 cl of alcohol distilled at 40°. So, be careful! In some very slim people or in the elderly, these averages should be lowered.
If you like liqueurs you can try the Italian Vov egg liqueur too.
Homemade aquavit recipe
Making your own aquavit at home is pretty easy. Aquavit, is made with white, clear grain alcohol (vodka is ideal) in which spices are infused. We won’t skip the caraway or the cumin in this recipe as few friends suggested, the main advantage of making your own aquavit is that you can add your favorite flavors.
I am going to add a little more lemon than is usually used since it is one of my favorite flavors.
- Vodka or other grain clear alcohol
- Anise, cumin, fennel, coriander, dill, and any other spice, herb and or ingredient you like
- Put 1 cup of vodka in an airtight container
- Lightly grill 1 tablespoon cilantro seeds and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- Beat the mixture with a mortar and put in the container with the vodka.
- Add the zest of a lemon
- Let sit in container for 2 weeks
- Filter the liquid and then bottle
There you go, you have an easy homemade aquavit, which you can customize and experiment as much as you want.