Snaps Visa: Salt Lakris Collins

Aquavit, Cocktails, and Nordic Snaps Culture by Lexi of the Old Ballard Liquor Co.

Photo: Lexi The sweet and tart Tom Collins is the basis for this Nordic variant that adds the complexity of salty licorice.

Photo: Lexi
The sweet and tart Tom Collins is the basis for this Nordic variant that adds the complexity of salty licorice.

The most Scandinavian of all candies is salty licorice, beloved by Scandinavians and highly suspicious to just about everybody else. This strong black candy is sometimes mistaken for blackberry by unsuspecting Brits visiting Scandinavia for the first time, who get a little more than they bargained for when they taste it. Salt licorice comes in a variety of shapes, strengths, and intensity but is almost always a firm chewy texture with a bracing, pungent black licorice flavor accented and magnified by a healthy dose of salt.

With the prevalence of sweet, licoricey aquavits available domestically in the U.S., a refreshing aquavit cocktail made to imitate Scandinavia’s favorite candy is a must. It’s a great “candy” drink to enjoy as part of any May 17th celebration.

Salt Licorice Collins
2 oz licorice aquavit (Blekksprut or Krogstad)
½ tsp. lemon juice
fresh fennel fronds or tarragon
1 tbsp. simple syrup
1 tsp. salt
club soda
flaked or Kosher salt for garnish

Rim a tall Collins glass with flaked or kosher salt.

Take 1 frond of fennel or tarragon and tear it into rough pieces.

Add the herbs to a shaker filled with ice, and add the aquavit, lemon juice, simple syrup, and salt. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds to break up the herbs.

Dump the contents of the whole shaker into the Collins glass without straining.

Top with club soda and garnish with another frond of fennel or tarragon.


Lexi is the owner and founder of the Old Ballard Liquor Co. in Seattle, which produces more varieties of aquavit than any distillery in the U.S. After growing up with the Scandinavian-American farming culture of the Skagit Valley and a three-year residency in Sweden, she settled back into Seattle life where she now operates the Old Ballard distillery and a Nordic café and fine dining Scandinavian restaurant called Tumble Swede, and travels the U.S. teaching classes on contemporary Scandinavian food and drink.

This article originally appeared in the May 6, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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