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May 5, 2009

Drink like a viking


Editor's note: Ever heard of akvavit? Me neither, until I read this piece, by Owl Meat Gravy:

Akvavit and I go way back. Maybe the berserker in me loves it.

Unlike other spirits, such as whiskey and tequila, there are no personal akvavit stories ending with, "And that's why I can't blink anymore." Someone once said that it's like having a shot of rye bread. That's not a bad thing.

Akvavit or aquavit is 80 proof vodka infused with herbs such as caraway seeds, anise, dill, fennel and coriander.

You can make it yourself using vodka and your choice of aromatic herbs, but getting the right combination is tricky ...

Akvavit means "water of life" and shares that etymology with whiskey and eau de vie. Now that's marketing. Some say it promotes digestion and cures everything from the vapors to dropsy. I say it's an icy shot of mischief from Norse trickster god Loki ...

The best way to drink akvavit is ice cold from the bottle, not diluted with city water ice. There are a number of drink recipes that involve akvavit, but I'm wary of sullying my Viking elixir with foofy sweet ingredients.

Will akvavit ever get its rightful place in the pantheon of great liquors? Probably not. Still, the next time I hoist a shot of this icy water of life, I will toast to my berserker brothers and think:

How soft your fields so green, can whisper tales of gore,
Of how we calmed the tides of war. We are your overlords.


(Photo by Getty Images)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:00 AM | | Comments (18)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Owl Meat's Tipsy Tuesdays


Akvavit, like Eau de Vie, is a perfect remedy for breaking down fatty acids after a heavy meal.

I want Sam back. :(

Well's Liquors offers two kinds of akvavit:

And then you can bare your chest, throw your head back, shake your leonine mane and scream : "AH-AH AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH-AH!!!!"

I like rye bread....any hints on where we might find this stuff, either in a bottle or in a glass?

Yes Yum, that is how I roll – berserker style. Maybe that's why no one I know carries it. Too muching berserking

I want Sam back. :(

Your scorn only makes me stronger ...[shaking mane] ... AH-AH AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH-AH!!!!"

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
The hammer of the gods
Will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying:
Valhalla, I am coming!
On we sweep with threshing oar,
Our only goal will be the western shore.

Aquavit is the name of well known restaurant in Nerw York. The chef is from Sweden. I think he's something of a celebrity chef. He was a regular on Iron Chef, I think, Marcus Samuelsson.

Aquavit is delicious. Little shots after smoked salmon is great. Because it's a Scandanavian tradition you don't look like a drunkard doing shots.

Stay classy Sue Hopper

Man, I'm disappointed in that editor...who clearly needs to drink more.


Funny thing TM, I met Marcus Samuelsson but didn't realize it. A friend and I stopped by Aquavit in NY one afternoon and had a few drinks at the bar. A guy from the kitchen sat next to us and we talked a bit, mostly about Jesse Orosco. It never occurred to me that he was the chef, because he didn't seem to have an accent and didn't look Swedish. It didn't occur to me that a black man would be Swedish. Live and learn.

Patchen, que?

The photo looks suspiciously like Times Square in NYC.

It is Times Square. Have akvavit will travel.

I picked up a bottle of the Aalborg Akvavit ($17.99) at Well's Liquors this week. Awesome stuff. Where has it been hiding? We did some ice cold from the freezer shots after dinner, Fantastic. Never had anything like it. All the herby flavors are famiiar but I've never had them in an alcohol. My brother used some to make bloody Marys that rocked. Thanks for the heads up.

I put some black peppercorns and hot peppers in a bottle of Stoli once and let it siot for a week. It made CRAZY good bloodies and fierce shots.

On this week's Simpsons, they had a scene where Moe's bar stopped serving beer and only served Aquavit. So reading Midnight Sun actually made me feel smarter. Doh

Doh! I saw that Simpsons too! Thanks Sam for keeping us ahead of the cuirve\\

Yay Sessa!

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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