Swedes aren’t typically known for their lively song and dance, but when it comes to aquavit, you might be exhausting those vocal chords all night, as this spirit is usually paired with a drinking song. The Norski, if you can’t tell by the name, is a cocktail full of Scandinavian influence — with aquavit at its core and lingonberry syrup as its sidekick.
At The Hardware Distillery Co. in Hoodsport, Washington, owners Chuck and Jan Morris produce the lesser-known spirit of aquavit — among many others like a vodka, whiskey and several honey-based products — because of Jan Morris’ Swedish roots. “I remembered always being around it as a child,” she says. While aquavit is traditionally made from grain, the aquavits in Hardware’s collection are made from its pear vodka.
The Norski features the distillery’s cardamom aquavit — the addition of the spice was inspired by warm Swedish cardamom breads and the Christmas cooking of Morris’ grandmother. Spice-forward, like a cup of Chai tea, Morris says the aquavit balances with the added sugars of the fruit in the cocktail.
Suggested to the couple by one of their most frequent customers, Hardware put its on spin on the drink, resulting in a dusty pink, sweet and spicy sipper. Morris says the peach bitters can be substituted with orange bitters if you’re looking for something more citrusy.
She also recommends pairing the cocktail with fish or even traditional Scandinavian bread. “If you could drink it for breakfast that would be delicious, but I’m not going to recommend that,” she says.
Pro tip: IKEA sells the lingonberry syrup Morris uses, but Scandinavian specialty stores and Amazon also offer the product.
Makes 1 cocktail
2 ounces The Hardware Distillery Cardamom Aquavit
½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
½ ounce simple syrup
½ ounce lingonberry syrup
1-2 dashes peach bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin with ice. Stir and strain into a glass. Skål!