Public Service Post: Skåne Aquavit Recipe

Public Service Post: Skåne Aquavit Recipe

For those of you unfamiliar, aquavite is the “water of life” for scandinavians, especially Swedes from Skåne. The key to the best aquavit is putting it on a boat for a round trip to the equator and back. Unfortunately, that is not always practical. The following recipe will do in a pinch the next time Midsommars or Christmas sneaks up on you.

Special note for you bureaucrats, the EU has established a minimum of 37.5% ABV for aquavit to be qualified as aquavit.


  • Whole fennel – 2 tablespoons
  • Whole caraway – 1 tablespoon
  • Whole anise – 1/2 tablespoon
  • Sugar cubes – 2
  • Vodka – 750 ml


1. Put the vodka in a sealable container other than its original bottle. Keep the original bottle.

2. Add the following to the vodka. Seal the container and give it a good shake.

  • Fennel
  • Caraway
  • Anise

3. After 30 minutes give the mixture a good shake.

4. After 1 hour, test mixture. If level of spiciness is not yet achieved, reseal and wait.

5. After 90 minutes, taste test your mixture again. If it is still not ready, shake and wait 30 more minutes. You shouldn’t have to wait longer than 2 hours. Don’t stress. You don’t have to be perfect on your timing.

6. Next strain out the the spices and run the vodka through a coffee filter back into the original vodka bottle. If you don’t filter out all the small bits of spices, especially the anise, you will end up with a bottle of of Aquavite that tastes like Pernod.

7. Add sugar. Give the mixture a final shake to dissolve the sugar.

8. Freeze.

Once the aquivate is ready, serve in small glasses with meals. It is both tradition and essential that you sing Helan Går (beginnersnormal | formal | Will Ferrell version) before taking your first sip.

Fun Helan Går fact: according to Wikipedia:

When Sweden‘s ice hockey team won the 1957 World Ice Hockey Championships in Moscow, not all of the Swedish players knew the lyrics to Du gamla, du fria, the de facto Swedish national anthem, so the players sang Helan Går instead.


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