Aquavit in Cocktails
But how does aquavit fit in a cocktail?
Aquavit is, actually a good base for cocktails. It has a generous natural base boasting an incredible spice balance. In practice, it has that same something that gin does - it brings more spiciness to the drink. As the dominant tastes are caraway and dill, the spiciness is however different so one needs to be careful with other herbs like mint that overrides the taste of the aquavit.
Different types of aquavit cocktails
Aquavit can work as a base for many different type of cocktails. One example is to use it to twist old classics and replace gin or vodka with aquavit. One example is the Swedish version of Bloody Mary. It is great to use for shorter cocktails, such as Negroni or Manhattan.
Bloody aquavit cocktail. Ingredients: 50 ml O.P. Anderson Original, 15 ml Red vermouth, 10 ml Maraschino liqueur, Orange zest, Maraschino cherry
Aquavit cocktails: a short history
In Sweden, the aquavit cocktail trend truly begun when bar chef called Johan Sjödin decided to surprise the visitors to the famous Story Hotel in Stockholm with a very Swedish drink. International visitors had been craving for Swedish flavours. While brainstorming on a new cocktail menu, Johan and his colleague Thobias Pettersson thought about aquavit. They came up with a new cocktail called Green Light Collins that had two main ingredients: aquavit and wood sorrel. "All the other spirits made the cocktail taste completely flat. They gave no character, no balance", Sjödin recalls.
"All the other spirits made the cocktail taste completely flat. They gave no character, no balance."
Johan Sjödin, bar manager, Stockholm
Swedish Negroni. Ingredients: 30 ml O.P. Anderson Original, 20 ml Italian bitter, 20 Sweet vermouth.
After that, Stockholm's nightlife witnessed a Green Light Collins hysteria. At Johan's bar the consumption of O.P. Anderson went up to about a dozen bottles a week. The sorrel supplier was starting to question why the hell Story Hotel was depleting Sweden's sorrel supply. Green Light Collins quickly became the signature drink for the Story Hotel and sparked imitations around the country. It was an absolute success, becoming the new Swedish mojito with an aquavit-only base.