Ska! Aquavit Week is Back and Bigger Than Ever, December 3-11

 
Bartender and writer Jacob Grier started Aquavit Week six years ago in Portland, OR, as a way to turn people onto the often overlooked spirit.  After falling in love with products like Portland’s Krogstad and Chicago’s North Shore Aquavit, he started to look for a way to get more people into this botanical forward Scandinavian alcohol. It began with him serving a few cocktails and pouring some aquavit specials at his bar, and evolved into a festival spanning multiple cities, and even countries, inspired by the success of celebrations like Negroni Week. From December 3 to the 11, people in participating cities around the country can try aquavit cocktails, rare samples of the spirit, or just get an introductory course to it.

Not everyone has even heard of aquavit, and even those who have might carry some misconceptions. Aquavit is a neutral spirit made from potatoes or grain, and is flavored primarily with caraway or dill seeds, giving it an aroma not unlike a rye bread. Most aquavits have other botanicals and herbs added, such as anise, cardamom, cumin, or fennel. It’s the traditional drink of Scandinavia, though it’s beginning to catch on in the States, in part due to the work of events like Aquavit Week. Generally, aquavit is drunk neat, often as a pre-dinner toast, or post-dinner digestif, or just throughout.

Portland is still the home base of Aquavit Week, with more than twenty participating bars and restaurants making speciality cocktails or serving rare examples of the spirits, and makers from distilleries such as Iceland’s Brennivin, Norway’s Linie, and Denmark’s Aalborg are visiting the town. However, cities like Chicago, Minneapolis, and Washington D.C. will also be hosting events and featuring bars and restaurants. The event was even in Europe for the first time, though a few weeks earlier for scheduling reasons. The complete schedule and list can be found at Aquavitweek.com.

Photo via Aquavit  

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