Tips from Aalborg Akvavit: Spiced Aquavit

Collecting the fragrant berries and herbs is part of the adventure, when making homemade aquavit. Herbs can be found everywhere in the Danish countryside, but mostly in the area around the Liim Fiord. Here, in the beautiful, undisturbed countryside between fiord and sea runs “Snapseruten” (the Aquavit Trail). Take a book with good images and descriptions of the plants along with you – or go to www.snapseruten.dk (available in Danish, Swedish and German) and read up on some good tips on precisely where to find the various herbs.

1. Herbs and berries
Go out and pick herbs and berries when the morning mist has lifted. The more ripe they are, the more flavoursome. Use a basket for your harvest, clean it and lay the herbs and berries in a lidded jar.

2. The essence
To make spiced aquavit, concentrate on the essences. You release essences by filling a jar or empty aquavit bottle with one type of herb or berry, then filling it with BRØNDUMS Snaps or BRØNDUMS Snaps Klar. Put the lid on the jar so it is airtight and allow the essence to extract. The infusion time will vary. As a rule of thumb, fresh and dried herbs should be filtered out after a week at most, while berries, fruits and roots should soak for a week to six months.

3. Filtering and aging
When the essence has been extracted, it must be filtered using a coffee filter or cloth. Then pour the purified essence into a decorative bottle and set it aside for aging. As a rule of thumb, the less sweet berries and nuts – juniper and walnuts, for example – improve the longer they are aged. The flavour components will develop, impurities fall to the bottom and certain essences will also take on a beautiful golden hue. On the other hand, nothing is gained by allowing juicy berries like strawberries to age for long.

4. Taste testing
Should the essence be allowed to age for longer, or is it ready to drink? In this case there is only one thing to do: Close your eyes, taste it and rely on the sensations in your stomach.

5. Serving
Invite family and friends around for homemade aquavit and something tasty from the kitchen. Put the essence on the table and dilute to taste with BRØNDUMS Snaps or BRØNDUMS Snaps Klar. Every essence tastes fantastic on it own, but blending is also allowed. However, flavours can become muddled if you blend too many essences, which makes the aquavit taste of everything and nothing. One or two – and rarely more – herbs and berries that go together well will give the best “little taste”to your good company. Honey can be used to strengthen the flavour.

PERSONAL NOTE: Since Brøndums Snaps is unavailable, use potato vodka as the base.

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