Aquavit - Aquavit Private Reserve
North Shore Distillery
Aquavit Private Reserve
North Shore Distillery, Lake Bluff, Illinois
Ingredient: Grain, spices (caraway and cumin)
Price: $25.99 750ml
Notes: Despite the fact it has a long history, Aquavit is almost unknown outside of Scandinavia. There are a few commercial varieties such as Aalborg, Linie, etc., and a number of artisianal distillers are taking up the challenge. This example is more authentic than most, and as a result comes by its color naturally - which is more than we can say about any of the above. The first commercially produced (meaning legally, not a reflection on size of production) Aquavit in the U.S.
Appearance: A pleasant lightly tinged yellow,the color of a very fine machine oil, brilliantly clear. Thick coating of spirit with crenellated edges and long legs slowly developing on swirling.
First Impression: Very aromatic,the combination of cumin,coriander and caraway remind you somewhat of a anise but much more ethereal.Reminds me of a really nice spiced rye bread or savory bread.
Taste: Spicy, light, aromatic, the three c's (caraway,cumin and coriander) blend in a balletic display of the possible. It completely lacks the cloying dullness of caramel that almost every other colored aquavit has making it more in the form of a ethereal absinthe or pastry than the caramelled firewater that most people kmow as Aquavit here. Incredibly smooth and seductively aromatic - especially for an aquavit.
Drinks: Frankly, there are not a lot of cocktails that call for aquavit. You usually just throw it down after singing a drinking song. Use it as a substitute for absinthe or pastis (makes for a interesting variation on a Sazerac) or think of it as a "vodka with some flavor." Excellent with smoked meats, fish, game or strong cheese. It's a required ingredient in any Swedish smorgasbord.
Cigars: Something mild, like a natural wrapper Rocky Patel.
Final Thoughts: A smooth, aromatic and approachable aquavit. That is subtle and complex. An overlooked category for new cocktail possibilities. Another soon to be iconic spirit from the people at North Shore that is full of possibilities.Think of it as something of a savory, understated, herbal type of gin, and take it from there as a mixing ingredient.
Bottle/Packaging: Clear cylindrical glass bottle and rounded shoulders silver paper labels and black writing. Real cork closure and silver neck foil.
Web site: http://www.northshoredistillery.com
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