How is Aquavit made?
Aquavit is produced a lot like vodka or gin. A neutral grain distillate is commonly used; in Norway, potatoes are preferred. Flavoring ingredients are introduced into the spirit. Although the caraway is the spice of the signature aquavit, dill is also very common. European Union (EU) law requires that caraway and/or dill be included, but other herbs, spices and citrus aromas are also used. These include anise, cardamom, citrus fruits (orange, sometimes lemon), cloves, coriander, cumin and fennel. The aquavit typically has no barrel age, leaving a light-colored spirit that presents the unadulterated taste of the spices used to flavor it. Norway, once again, offers the exception and often ages the aquavit in used sherry barrels, giving it a golden color. The most famous among the old Norwegian brands is Linie Aquavit, which claims to be the oldest aquavit in the world. The spirit is aged in the ships that sail the seas. It is a tradition that began by accident in 1807 when a ship carrying the potato brandy returned from a trip to the East Indies after not being able to find a buyer at the destination. The practice continues today, with a four-month round trip from Norway to Australia after a year of aging on earth. It is said that rocking ocean waves provides a unique flavor to aged aquavit. Aquavit should be bottled at a minimum of 37,5%, although most times it reaches 42 to 45%.