Enjoying Aquavit

The most traditional way to enjoy aquavit is to sip it neat. For unaged aquavit, it’s not unusual to chill the bottle before serving. Aquavit that has been smoothed by ageing barrels may be more enjoyable at room or cellar temperature. Aquavit is also versatile and delicious in cocktails, offering a range of botanical flavors. In short, if you like gin drinks, it’s worth giving aquavit a try. For a few mixing ideas, see the aquavit category at my cocktail website.

Arguably the most traditional way to drink aquavit is by skåling, as impeccably demonstrated by actor Max Von Sydow in Time Life’s 1968 book The Cooking of Scandinavia. Sydow makes eye contact with the reader, then “[tipping] his glass backward, von Sydow drains the chilled aquavit in one deceptively cool gulp.” Then Sydow makes eye contact with the reader once again. The blog Cooking Issues has amassed a collection of celebrities skåling in style that’s worth checking out. I suggest photographing your own stylish skål during Aquavit Week.