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A guide to Norwegian Aquavit

Aquavit, also known as akvavit, is a traditional Scandinavian spirit that has been produced in Norway for centuries. Made from grain or potatoes, it is typically flavored with herbs and spices, most notably caraway and dill. Here is a guide to Norwegian aquavit.

History of Aquavit in Norway

Aquavit has been produced in Norway since the 15th century, when it was used for medicinal purposes. It was believed to have healing properties and was used to treat a variety of ailments, from the common cold to digestive issues.

Over time, aquavit became a popular spirit for drinking, particularly during celebrations and holidays such as Christmas and Midsummer. It is often served chilled and sipped slowly, either neat or with a meal.

Flavors and Varieties

Norwegian aquavit is typically flavored with a combination of herbs and spices, with caraway being the most dominant flavor. Other common flavors include dill, anise, coriander, and fennel.

There are many varieties of Norwegian aquavit available, each with its own unique flavor profile. Some popular brands include Linie Aquavit, Gammel Opland Aquavit, and Aalborg Jubilaeums Akvavit.

How to Serve Aquavit

Aquavit is typically served chilled, either straight from the freezer or over ice. It is often served in small glasses or shot glasses, and sipped slowly. Some people prefer to mix it with tonic water or soda water for a lighter, more refreshing drink.

Aquavit is also commonly served with traditional Scandinavian foods such as pickled herring, smoked salmon, and meatballs. The strong flavor of the aquavit complements the salty and savory flavors of these foods, making for a delicious pairing.

Aquavit Cocktails

While aquavit is often enjoyed neat or with traditional Scandinavian foods, it can also be used in cocktails. Here are some popular aquavit cocktail recipes:

  1. Aku Aku: This tropical-inspired cocktail is made with aquavit, lime juice, falernum, and passionfruit syrup.
  2. Aquavit Sour: This twist on the classic whiskey sour is made with aquavit, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white.
  3. Norwegian Negroni: This Scandinavian take on the classic Negroni is made with aquavit, sweet vermouth, and Campari.
  4. Scandanavian Sling: This refreshing cocktail is made with aquavit, cherry liqueur, lime juice, and soda water.


Norwegian aquavit is a traditional spirit with a rich history and unique flavor profile. Its dominant caraway flavor makes it a distinctive and flavorful spirit that is perfect for sipping or pairing with traditional Scandinavian foods. With many varieties available and the ability to use it in cocktails, aquavit is a versatile and delicious spirit that is worth trying. When you do, toast as Norwegians do and say “Skål!”.