A chilled “cheers” to Thanksgiving

Aquavit meets pomegranate and ginger for a festive holiday cocktail with a Nordic twist

A view from the top of the cocktail,

Photo: Daytona Strong
Nothing says Thanksgiving more than a blending of cultures. This drink blends ingredients that are all immigrants to North America—pomegranates from the Mediterranean; lemons from Asia via Spain; ginger, an age-old trade spice; and of course aquavit from Scandinavia.

Daytona Strong
Taste of Norway Editor

When it comes to the holidays—and I mean everything from Thanksgiving to Christmas—I love traditions. Whether it’s an assortment of decorations brought out year after year or the foods I’ve been eating since childhood, the sights, tastes, and smells of the season are full of wonderful memories for me. That said, this is also the perfect time of year to experiment, and I’ve come up with a festive cocktail that’s hardly a classic, though I’d be delighted if it became one for some of you.

Aquavit, pomegranate, and ginger beer may hardly seem like a traditional combination, but the surprising thing about this cocktail is that there’s something familiar about it—a flavor riff on a whiskey ginger, almost. But with a vibrant color and an additional complexity of flavor.

I recently tasked myself with the idea of coming up with a cocktail that would be festive for a holiday such as Thanksgiving. I thought about flavors and colors—aquavit had to be the base, I decided. And bubbles were pretty much a necessity, as they add a celebratory touch to just about anything. I just had to decide which kind: ginger or soda.

I thought about the classic whisky ginger, which is about as simple as you can get. The flavors of whiskey and ginger ale pair so well together, and I wondered if aquavit might have a similarly pleasing effect. Sure enough, with a touch of pomegranate and lemon to help round everything out, the aquavit and ginger melded together to create an effervescent and spritely beverage just right for Thanksgiving.

This time of year, I typically think of gløgg: that wonderful, warm spiced wine spiked with aquavit. (You can find my recipe in the archives here: www.norwegianamerican.com/food/invite-a-cozy-feeling-with-warm-glogg.) But I’m glad I have a chilled option for this holiday season as well.

Two cocktails.

Photo: Daytona Strong

Pomegranate Ginger Aquavit Cocktail
Keep a bottle of aquavit chilled and you’re just moments away from whipping up a festive, beautiful cocktail for your guests.

2 oz. barrel-aged aquavit such as Linie, chilled
1 oz. pomegranate juice
1/2 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 oz. ginger beer
lemon twist

Pour aquavit, pomegranate juice, and lemon juice into cocktail glass of your choice. Top with ginger beer, garnish with a lemon twist, and serve.

Daytona Strong is The Norwegian American’s Taste of Norway editor. She writes about her family’s Norwegian heritage through the lens of food at her Scandinavian food blog, www.outside-oslo.com. Find her on Facebook www.facebook.com/OutsideOslo; Twitter @daytonastrong; Pinterest @daytonastrong; and Instagram @daytonastrong.

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 17, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

Norwegian American Logo

The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.