Have you tried Aquavit, a Scandinavian liquor? The Gentleman gives you the rundown of one brand called Krogstad.
“Water of life” seems to be the John Smith of liquor names for early Europe. Ireland has “uisge beatha” or whiskey, France has “eau de vie” or fruity brandy, and Scandinavia has Aquavit. Of the three, I had yet to have Aquavit and feel that it’s about time I give it a go.
Aquavit is commonly drunk as chilled shots with beer, usually with a swig of beer preceding a shot of Aquavit—though I think this might be a direct violation of the “beer before liquor, never sicker” rule, but when in Scandinavia…
So what exactly is Aquavit? It’s a grain liquor made from caraway and/or dill and other spices. Usually it is aged in oak barrels for a variety of different lengths of times depending on region and can vary in color from brown to yellow to clear. Aquavit is commonly served at celebratory meals in Norway and Sweden such as Christmas, Easter, or basically any big meal that involves fatty meat or fish. It’s said that Aquavit helps with the digestion of the meats. Whether this is true I do not know—but I can say that it doesn’t conflict in my stomach with a salad. Aquavit is commonly drunk as chilled shots with beer, usually with a swig of beer preceding a shot of Aquavit—though I think this might be a direct violation of the “beer before liquor, never sicker” rule, but when in Scandinavia…
La Oss Drikke (Let’s Drink)
The brand of Aquavit that I decided to try is Krogstad as it was the most readily available to me. The aroma is very strong of the caraway and anise—though to be honest they both smell like liquorice but just a little different. As the smell will suggest the taste is very strong in liquorice. It very much reminds me of absinthe. But unlike absinthe, the alcoholic burn is not nearly as strong—mostly cause whereas absinthe is usually around 70% ABV and Aquavit is around 40%—and the taste of liquorice does not linger in your mouth as much. The finish is astonishingly clean. The taste hits your mouth says “Hey! Here I am!” then just as quickly says “Okay, I’ll let you get back to your other drink.” I didn’t have a chance to try it with a beer, but I can definitely see how this would be a good shot with beers as the taste won’t really linger long enough to conflict with your beer. It tastes much like absinthe and vodka's child. If you don’t like liquorice I would suggest staying away from Aquavit as you will not find any other taste to zero in on.
Would I drink Aquavit every night? No, but to be fair I would suggest not drinking every night to begin with. But seriously, I would not drink one type of liquor every night and if I did it would probably not be Aquavit. But I could see drinking this every once in a while. It is a clean liquor and can be an alternative to its liquorice cousin absinthe.