Aquavit is one of those things – you either love or hate.
To some people, it is a delicious drink. To others, it feels awful.
Everyone has different tastes, though.
Originating from Scandinavia, aquavit is also referred to as akvavit locally.
It is practically a distilled spirit.
While the ingredients are similar to those in other spirits, there is one rule to remember.
To be considered an aquavit, the main flavor must come from dill seed or caraway.
If you are curious about the name, it comes from Latin and refers to the water of life.
Now, what does aquavit taste like?
What is Aquavit?
Aquavit is a flavored spirit.
It is distilled and has a yellowish or pale color, but it is also clear.
In terms of flavor, it feels quite dry.
As for the alcohol content, it varies, but it normally stays in the 42% to 45% range.
Aquavit is normally distilled from fermented potatoes, but grain mash is also used in the process.
Then, it is distilled one more time with different flavors and aromas.
Later on, it is filtered and bottled straight away.
When it comes to aromatic flavors, you will find lots of options out there – aniseed, fennel, lemon peel, cumin seed, caraway, or orange peel, just to name a few.
While very popular in Scandinavia, the drink has managed to become popular in other parts of the world too, yet it is mostly available in specialized stores.
What Does Aquavit Taste Like?
The classic aquavit from countries like Denmark or Norway is heavily changed by different ingredients used in its composition.
For example, all the above-mentioned flavors, herbs, and spices can affect the taste, whether it comes to fennel, anise seeds, and others.
It is important to know that all these flavors tend to make aquavit stronger than normally, but also spicier.
Some people claim that this is the taste you go for, as the caraway can be a bit overwhelming.
Now, anise seeds and fennel can make caraway taste better, while trifecta makes the alcohol feel stronger.
Aquavit has been through a series of improvements overtime, and these days, it can be enhanced with more flavors than ever.
For instance, you could find smooth and fresh aquavit based on grapefruit peel, not to mention blackcurrant leaves.
You get the point – aquavit varies from one brand to another, so the taste is always different.
Classic flavors are distinctive, though.
Now, some countries also barrel age aquavit for even more flavor – more common in flavor.
As a result, the taste is more rounded and mature.
On the other hand, Danish aquavit is not aged, but it also has a strong aroma of caraway.
The Swedish alternative is between these two varieties.
One thing is for sure, though – aquavit has a strong alcohol content regardless of where you get it from.
You will experience that alcohol strength regardless of the flavors.
Now that you know what to expect from the taste, how do you serve it?
How to Serve Aquavit?
According to TheSpruceEats, aquavit is enjoyed in a bunch of different ways – depending on the country and culture.
Most people stick to similar habits, though.
Generally speaking, aquavit is seen as a festive drink, so it is more common around holidays.
It is normally chilled and served in shot glasses, but this is not a general rule.
Aquavit can also be served at room temperature and in larger glasses.
Most drinkers will take their time with it, though.
Aquavit is almost never consumed alone.
Instead, you will need a meal or perhaps a snack.
In Scandinavian cultures, it is paired with seafood.
Sour herring, for example, is one of the best choices.
The herring has a very strong taste and aroma, so aquavit is used to hide it.
There are lots of other varieties out there, though.
Bottom line, while normally drunk around festive holidays, the truth is you can enjoy a glass of aquavit whenever you want.
Furthermore, it is worth noting that aquavit is quite common in various cocktails as well – aquavit and tonic, aquavit martini, Norwegian Manhattan, and so on.
As a short final conclusion, what does aquavit taste like? It is difficult to say because different versions taste differently.
There are so many flavors brands use in the manufacturing process that tastes vary widely.
Apart from classic flavors, there are numerous new ideas as well – some of them based on fruits.
The good news is that no matter what type of aroma you are after, chances are you will find it there.
While a bit more difficult to find in other countries, the truth is aquavit has crossed Scandinavian borders and is now available in other parts of the world as well.