Yield: Yields 4 bottles of about 8 oz.
Flavored vodkas may be all the rage with the chocolate martini set, but aquavit—a traditional, spice-infused spirit from Scandinavia—is a far more sophisticated tipple with notes of fennel, caraway, and coriander. Although aquavit keeps well at room temperature, it’s traditionally served chilled.
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This recipe does not offer the more traditional flavor of Danish and Norwegian aquavit, which tends more to caraway and cardamom. This recipe doesn't call for it, but I recommend adding 2 crushed cardamom pods. One clove is enough. Skip the dill, coriander, peppercorns and especially the fennel, unless you want a fairly strong anise flavor -- and if you're looking for the more traditional flavor. Also, crushing, then heating the seeds in a pan over a low to medium flame to just smoking will give a richer flavor. Don't burn them! I also add 1/4 of the peel of one lemon and one lime each (no pith) and 1 teaspoon sugar (max!). The citrus melds in with the other aromas, so is barely distinguishable -- more nuance. And the sugar offsets any bitterness from the seeds.
Finally, my Norwegian family and friends always keep their aquavit in the freezer -- it just tastes better, for some reason -- and sip it with a beer chaser.
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