Making spirits bright—skål!

A trio of Nordic-inspired cocktails to celebrate the end of 2020


Photo: Sara Johannessen / MatPrat
A festive drink, like this warm eplegløgg with spices, is a great way to say goodbye to 2020, and look to better days in 2021.

Taste of Norway Editor


With my kids, we like to celebrate the weekend with a festive drink. Spiced apple cider, or eplegløgg, fits the bill at this time of the year. With a handful of whole spices and 20 minutes of simmering, it is a cozy drink to share with the whole family (with a splash of bourbon for the adults).
—Christy Olsen Field

Eplegløgg – serves 4
4 cups unfiltered apple cider
3 sticks of cinnamon
7 allspice berries
5 cloves
1 star anise
Optional: Bourbon, rum, or brandy

  1. In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Strain out the spices, and pour into small mugs.
  3. For those who want to make it a little stronger, add a generous pour of bourbon, rum, or brandy.

Photo: courtesy of Norden Aquavit
The refreshing Nordic Mule.

The Nordic Mule

Mules make for a popular cocktail, with a bracing combination of fresh lime juice and spicy ginger beer. Vodka makes it a Moscow Mule, bourbon makes it a Kentucky Mule, but have you heard of the Nordic Mule?

Our friends Robyn and Summer Cleveland at Norden Aquavit in Detroit, Mich., offer their recipe for The Nordic Mule, with aquavit, lime, elderflower cordial, and ginger beer. Find more creative cocktails on their website:

The Nordic Mule
2 oz. Norden Aquavit
3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz. elderflower cordial
3-4 oz. ginger beer
Garnish: Two slices of cucumber
and a sprig of dill

  1. In a copper mug, combine all ingredients with plenty of crushed ice.
  2. Stir lightly and garnish with two slices of cucumber and a sprig of dill.

Thor’s Hammer

This cocktail has its origins in an old gin-based version that has been changed over the years. We took it from a “Straight Up Cocktail” to a longer version that could be sipped as the countdown to end 2020 rolls to its end.

Just as Thor’s magic Hammer smashed anything that got in its way, this drink SMASHES ALL MEMORIES of 2020 totally getting them out of our lives.

There has never been a year where the end of the current year has been as hoped for and anticipated. Enjoy our Thor’s Hammer and clear the decks for 2021!
— Walter Hansen, co-owner of The Nordic Shop, Rochester, Minn.

Thor’s Hammer
1 oz. Linie Aquavit (or your favorite aged aquavit)
3/4 oz. fresh-squeezed Lime Juice
1 oz. Luxardo Liquor
1 oz. Yellow Chartreuse

  1. Mix thoroughly in a cocktail pitcher.
  2. Pour over ice in a double old-fashioned glass.
  3. Garnish with a lime peel knot around a short sprig of dill.
  4. Clap to activate the garnish.

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 25, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Christy Olsen Field

Christy Olsen Field was the Taste of Norway Editor from 2019 to 2022. She worked on the editorial staff of The Norwegian American Weekly from 2008 to 2012. An enthusiastic home cook and baker, she lives north of Seattle with her husband and two young sons.