How to Make Aquavit

How to Make Aquavit

Aquavit is a Scandinavian liquor with just as long traditions as Russian and Polish vodka, so please don’t offend the whole of Scandinavia by saying that aquavit is a sort of flavoured vodka. Aquavit was first mentioned in writing in 1531 and there are 91 different aquavits produced in Scandinavia to day. The only thing they have in common is that both aquavit and vodka are originally potato based and not made from grain. And by the way, the dill plants is never used to flavour aquavit, it is dill seeds that are used and real aquavit lovers never drink their aquavit chilled, it kills most of the flavours – Ted’s comments

Recipe by Molly Watson

Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest that you install a still in your garage. Those who want to distill their own liquor have plenty of resources to turn to. What about the rest of us? Who just want to play around with flavors?

Aquavit is the perfect vehicle for us to play with, since it’s just flavored neutral alcohol.

Yep, aquavit is just flavored neutral distilled alcohol—to make it one can start with grain alcohol, or go for a slightly softer, more filtered base of plain vodka. And it’s super easy to turn vodka into aquavit at home.


[1] Pour a 750-ml bottle of neutral alcohol (such as vodka) into a sealable container. Add the flavoring agents Let soak for 2 to 4 days, taste along the way to decide how long.

[2] Strain out the flavoring agents. Funnel the now-aquavit back into the original bottle (make a new label) or into a new bottle. Serve icy cold (I like to store mine in the freezer)

[3] Which flavoring agents to use? I’ve outlined some classic—and not so classic—aquavit flavors below. Feel free to experiment as much as you like.

Note: What’s the difference between aquavit and flavored vodka? The best way to think of it is that aquavit is a type of flavored vodka, a type that tends to have a delicate flavor from herbs and spices.

Most classic and some less so aquavit flavour ingredients

Bog myrtle
Caraway seeds
Cherry Blossoms
Cinnamon bark
Coriander seeds
Dill seeds
Fennel seeds
Ginger (thin slices)
Juniper Berries
Lemon zest
Lemon Verbena
Orange zest
Oak buds
Pink Sichuan peppercorns
Sherry (from maturing in old sherry casks)
Vanilla beans
Whole cloves
Whole cumin seeds
Whole star anise

Teds comment: I’ve added a few iredients missing from Molly Watson’s list