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Homemade Aquavit

Scott Phillips

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.


  • 3 Tbs. whole coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbs. whole fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbs. caraway seeds
  • 1 Tbs. dill seed
  • 1 liter vodka (I like Stoli)
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves


  • With a mortar and pestle, lightly crush the coriander, fennel, caraway, and dill seed.
  • In a large, airtight glass container, combine the vodka with the crushed spices, peppercorns, and cloves. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 2 weeks, gently shaking the jar every 2 or 3 days. Strain the vodka into 4 clean 8-oz. glass bottles. Discard the spices.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • Oval | 11/28/2017

    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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