Say skål to summer
Taste the sunshine in this refreshing aquavit cocktail with strawberry, lemon, and bitters
Taste of Norway Editor
A few years ago, I walked around my Seattle neighborhood just as spring was about to turn into summer. The sun shone brightly and the sky was a cloudless blue. I noticed the verdant scent of grass as people mowed their lawns—it was like summer had erupted into its fullness in one single, sunny day. I created a cocktail inspired by that day, with Linie aquavit muddled with fresh strawberries, then balanced with a touch of lemon juice, simple syrup, bitters, and sparkling water. It tasted like summer in a glass—and totally refreshing.
Though Linie was one of the first aquavits that I became acquainted with, it became impossible to find in the Seattle area for a time until recently. On a recent trip to the rural Methow Valley in Eastern Washington, my husband returned from the local grocery store proudly carrying two bottles for me—a gift, for sure. After all my lack of success finding it, even in Ballard, Seattle’s historically Scandinavian neighborhood, my husband found it in a small town with a population of less than 1,000 people*.
So even though summer is on its way out, this calls for a final skål. With its variety of warming spices like caraway, aquavit seems like a cold-weather beverage, but one taste of this ice-cold cocktail on a hot day demonstrates how refreshing it can be.
*The great aquavit drought of 2016 is over now; it was a temporary problem caused by a change in distributors. This editor’s guess as to why there would have been bottles available in a small town is that there wasn’t as much demand there and they therefore had stock remaining.
Aquavit Cocktail with Strawberry, Lemon, and Bitters
2 oz. caraway-based aquavit such as Linie or Old Ballard Liquor Company’s Riktig
¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce simple syrup*
3 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes orange bitters
Muddle 2 strawberries in the bottom of a glass with the aquavit. Pour in lemon juice and simple syrup, then add the dashes of Angostura bitters and orange bitters and stir. Fill a tall glass with ice and strain the cocktail into it. Top with sparkling water. Garnish with the remaining strawberry. Serves 1.
*To make simple syrup, bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan along with 1 cup sugar, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and cool. Store in the refrigerator.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 9, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.