I never expected to buy a bottle of aquavit.
With friends visiting from Brooklyn, my wife and I toured House Spirits Distillery this past weekend. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail was our only previous distillery experience, so it was nice to see distilling on a much smaller scale. It was impressive how small the distillery was when one considers the popularity of their flagship spirit Aviation Gin. It’s not much larger than what you can see in the photo below.
After the tour we enjoyed tastings of Medoyeff Vodka, Aviation Gin, Krogstad Aquavit and 3 shochus from their Limited Release line. The vodka was one of the best I’d tasted in a long time. The gin is superb as everyone in Portland knows. The shochus were nice, though not really my scene. What was surprisingly good was the Krogstad aquavit.
Similar to vodka in texture/mouth feel, aquavit is a Scandinavia spirit traditionally flavored with caraway. The addition of star anise makes Krogstad a Swedish style aquavit, reminiscent of a pastis, though maintaing vodka-like characteristics.
The woman running the tasting mentioned aquavit cocktails and really got my attention when she said one of my favorite words: Sazerac.
2oz rye whiskey
1 barspoons 2:1 rich syrup
3 dashes Peychaud’s BItters
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1/4oz of Krogstad Aquavit
Fill a rocks glass with ice and water. In a mixing glass, combine the rye, simple syrup, bitters and aquavit. Stir with ice until cold. Dump the ice water out of the rocks glass. Strain the contents of the mixing glass into the rocks glass. Twist a lemon peel over the drink and rub on the rim of the glass.
The aquavit is more subtle and less viscous than absinthe or a pastis, so it actually works well to add it to the drink rather than rinse the glass. I can easily imagine this variation working it’s way into my normal rotation.