The fifth annual Aquavit Week, the week-long celebration of the signature spirit of the Nordics, returns for 2016 from December 4-10. When Aquavit Week began in 2012, the number of aquavits regularly available in America could almost be counted on one hand. Today there are more than forty available, from small batch spirits produced by American craft distillers to quality imports from its home in Scandinavia.
This year’s Aquavit Week will be the best and biggest yet, expanding beyond the Pacific Northwest to include events in New York, Chicago, and Houston. This growth has been made possible with generous sponsorship from Linie, a Norwegian aquavit that undergoes one of the world’s most unique ageing processes, sending casks of aquavit on a months’ long journey at sea in sherry casks.
Aquavit Week is devoted to celebrating the wonderful diversity of aquavit, its pairing possibilities with food and beer, and its untapped potential in cocktails. A comprehensive guide to aquavit brands available in the United States, including many that will be featured at Aquavit Week events, can be found right on the Aquavit Week website.
This year’s Aquavit Week will conduct three events in Portland, three around the country, and a week-long “Snaps & Taps” beer pairing adventure, and bars from all over are invited to join the celebration by offering aquavit cocktails all week long. Additional events will be posted here on the website. This year’s featured events include:
Aquavit Week Opening Party (Dec. 4) – Join us at Broder Nord to experience Portland’s largest selection of aquavit. This ticketed event will feature more than ten different aquavits, aquavit cocktails, light Scandinavian fare, and a true Swedish toast. Come say “Skal!” with us! Tickets $20 per person available at the door, or reserve a spot by calling 503.282.5555. 6:00-8:00 pm
Snaps & Taps (Dec. 4-10) – Sample aquavit and beer pairings featuring special beers from some of Portland’s finest brewers at Portland’s best bars. Look for beers from Breakside Brewing, Upright Brewing, The Commons, Drinking Horse, and, for our first ever Aquavit Week cider, a special release from Reverend Nat’s. Check our website for details on where to find these brews.
Nordic Flight Night (Dec. 5) – Bit House Saloon’s popular Monday Night Flights take on a Scandinavian slant with a worldwide selection of aquavits. Come by all night long to try aquavits made in the Nordic countries, the United States, and right here in Portland, Oregon. 3:00 pm to 2:00 am.
Norwegian Aquavit Tasting at The Nomad (Dec. 5) – Lysholm Linie Aquavit together with Leo Robitschek and Monica Berg invites you to join us at The Nomad Rooftop in New York for an Aquavit Cocktail Lunch. In addition to a specially curated menu for the day, you’ll have the opportunity to try a collection of carefully selected Norwegian aquavits. (By invitation only industry event.)
Aquavit Week on the Road: New York (Dec. 6) – Aquavit Week travels to New York City to visit the Edda Bar at Aska. The Edda Bar will feature signature aquavit cocktails, ‘Øl and Snaps’ pairings, and more than a dozen of Edda’s house-made aquavits available in flights, along with Chef Fredrik Berselius’ bar menu of Nordic-inspired bites. 5:00 pm to 12:00 am.
Norwegian Aquavit Tasting at the Long Island Bar (Dec. 6) – Join Monica Berg and Toby Cecchini at the Long Island Bar in New York for an evening of rare and unusual aquavits! You will have the opportunity to try bottlings never before seen in US and learn more about this Nordic spirit. 7:00 PM.
Aquavit Week on the Road: Chicago (Dec. 8) – Aquavit takes over the cocktail menu at Sportsman’s Club for one night only in Chicago. Four different local and international aquavits will feature in four different cocktails from the Sportsman’s Club bartenders, and all four will be available in a flight as well. 5:00 pm to 2:00 am.
Aquavit Week on the Road: Houston (Dec. 10) – Julep is best known for their selection of whiskey and classic cocktails with southern sensibilities, but in celebration of Aquavit Week they’re taking the menu in a Nordic direction. Join us on the heated patio to explore aquavits from Norway, Iceland, and the United States, along with aquavit cocktails from the Julep bar team. 3:00 – 6:00 pm.
Aquavit Week Post-Party (Dec. 11) – Toast the ending of the biggest Aquavit Week ever at the internationally inspired Expatriate, featuring aquavit cocktails from some of Portland’s most creative bartenders. 9:00 pm – 12:00 am.
About Aquavit Week: Aquavit Week was founded in 2012 by Portland, Oregon bartender and writer Jacob Grier. The event is dedicated to showcasing aquavit as a neat spirit and as an ingredient in cocktails, introducing American imbibers to aquavits produced domestically and abroad. More information about the event, participating bars, and a guide to the variety of aquavit available in the United States is available at www.aquavitweek.com.
About Linie Aquavit: Sponsorship for Aquavit Week 2016 is provided by Linie. Produced in Norway, Linie is the spearhead icon of aquavit worldwide. It is matured in old sherry casks as deck cargo on ships that travel the seas twice across the equator. The change of temperature and humidity through different climate zones, along with constant rocking of the casks, make for a unique ripening process that gives Linie its distinct taste. Look inside the back of the bottle, enter the individual code online, and see where your Linie aquavit has traveled and which ship took it there. More information about Linie can be found at www.linie.com.
About Jacob Grier: Jacob Grier is the author of Cocktails on Tap: The Art of Mixing Spirits and Beer, and has worked in various Portland drinking destinations, including Wayfinder Beer, The Multnomah Whiskey Library, and Expatriate. He writes at www.jacobgrier.com.