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 What is Aquavit?

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Sundancer7

What is Aquavit? Thu, 07/17/03 8:24 AM (permalink)
I was in Minneapolis about a year ago and my brother who is a resident of the Twin Cities advised me of a restaurant downtown Minneapolis called "Aquavit"

Being on company business with a good credit card, I took a guest. Not knowing what kind of restaurant it was, I was anxious to view the menu. It was a Swedish gourmet type restaurant and the menu was excellent, but what intrigued me the most was the many containers of colored liquid that I saw everywhere. I ask the waiter what they were and he told me that they were Aquavit which was the restaurants name. At that time, I did not know that Aquavit was a Swedish drink. I ordered a sampler of the drink which included some type of berry, orange and lemon, caraway seed and something else. It was served chilled and I found it to be very good and slightly toxic

I ask more about Aquavit and it was explained to me that they take some type of berries or citrus or seed or other things and let it set in potato vodka for several weeks

Food was excellent, drink was excellent and bill was expensive. I saw they closed just a few months ago.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
 
#1
    Adjudicator

    • Total Posts: 5057
    • Joined: 5/20/2003
    • Location: Tallahassee, FL
    RE: What is Aquavit? Thu, 07/17/03 10:48 AM (permalink)
    from Latin, aqua vitae: "water of life") Clear Scandinavian distilled liquor flavored with caraway seeds. Distilled from a fermented potato or grain mash, filtered with charcoal, and usually bottled without aging, aquavit has an alcohol content of 42-45% by volume. Most aquavits are sweet and spicy. It is usually served chilled and unmixed, in small glasses.
     
    #2
      kangolpimp

      • Total Posts: 119
      • Joined: 6/14/2003
      • Location: New York, NY
      RE: What is Aquavit? Thu, 07/17/03 11:26 AM (permalink)
      There is a very good Swedish restaurant here in New York called Aquavit. They have a large selection of Aquavits in addition to the fantastic Swedish food. Chef is Marcus Samuelsson. It's a bit pricey, but not as stratospheric as some places.

      www.aquavit.org/
       
      #3
        seafarer john

        RE: What is Aquavit? Thu, 07/17/03 11:46 AM (permalink)
        Aquavit should be stored in the freezer compartment of your refrigerator and served in chilled glasses - an ounce or so at a time.
        It is great to accompany a cold bottle of Scandanavian beer on a hot day, and is drunk in Sweden along with the meal - a different flavored aquavit with each course in very fancy places. Some Scandanavian restaurants will keep their aquavit in a block of ice and serve it from the bottle still encased in the ice - kind of pretentious , I think.

        It comes in all kinds of qualities, from rotgut with artificial flavors to great stuff with a wide range of botanicals, herbs, and spices. This is not to be confused with the crap sold throughout America as flavored vodka. Thank's to Sundancer for bringing up the subject, and i'm glad to hear he liked the stuff. "Ein skol, mein skol..." Sundancer.
         
        #4
          Willly

          • Total Posts: 396
          • Joined: 7/26/2002
          • Location: Westport, CT
          RE: What is Aquavit? Thu, 07/17/03 11:49 AM (permalink)
          The restaurants were related. If in NYC, try AQ Cafe (also part of the same group) for less expensive, but no less delicious Scandinavian food.
           
          #5
            kland01s

            • Total Posts: 2835
            • Joined: 3/14/2003
            • Location: Fox River Valley, IL
            RE: What is Aquavit? Thu, 07/17/03 11:56 AM (permalink)
            What a classy website! I love restaurants that have websites so you can dream over the menu.
             
            #6
              EliseT

              • Total Posts: 2849
              • Joined: 7/11/2001
              • Location: L.A, CA
              RE: What is Aquavit? Thu, 07/17/03 3:08 PM (permalink)
              I never drank it because it sounded too much like "aquavelva"
               
              #7
                Michael Hoffman

                • Total Posts: 17837
                • Joined: 7/1/2000
                • Location: Gahanna, OH
                RE: What is Aquavit? Thu, 07/17/03 3:30 PM (permalink)
                quote:
                Originally posted by Sundancer7

                I was in Minneapolis about a year ago and my brother who is a resident of the Twin Cities advised me of a restaurant downtown Minneapolis called "Aquavit"

                Being on company business with a good credit card, I took a guest. Not knowing what kind of restaurant it was, I was anxious to view the menu. It was a Swedish gourmet type restaurant and the menu was excellent, but what intrigued me the most was the many containers of colored liquid that I saw everywhere. I ask the waiter what they were and he told me that they were Aquavit which was the restaurants name. At that time, I did not know that Aquavit was a Swedish drink. I ordered a sampler of the drink which included some type of berry, orange and lemon, caraway seed and something else. It was served chilled and I found it to be very good and slightly toxic

                I ask more about Aquavit and it was explained to me that they take some type of berries or citrus or seed or other things and let it set in potato vodka for several weeks

                Food was excellent, drink was excellent and bill was expensive. I saw they closed just a few months ago.

                Paul E. Smith
                Knoxville, TN



                I read just within the past few weeks that the Aquavit had closed. It was a clone of the Aquavit that's been open in New York for several years.

                I had my first experience with aquavit when we lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Aquavit is wonderful stuff. It is usually kept in a freezer (in the bottle) and served straight up. It's great, but it is powerful.
                 
                #8
                  Michael Anderson

                  • Total Posts: 16
                  • Joined: 7/14/2003
                  • Location: Oxford, OH
                  RE: What is Aquavit? Thu, 07/17/03 5:49 PM (permalink)
                  GOOD QUESTION...and GREAT to broaden your Beverage/Spirits understanding/repertoire(rep______what? CONSIDER: Aquavit'is to Scandinavians as Whisk(e)y is to Americans, Vodka to Rusians,and Gin to the British. In l974, my wife and I had a young lady from Denmark come to live with us as "Au-Pair"(equal to/part of the family)...to help with the children etc. We all learned much from "BENTA" about Scandinavian culture/customs. She explained early in the experience, the ubiquitous(ubi_______what? presence of this unique distillate from Cardomin(most common). Noticing her excitement over this, the great details described in the partaking of IT "ICE-COLD'n QUICK", and her emphasis on "...TASTES LIKE CHRISTMAS"...I had to persue IT! And so I did...after numerous tastings, here there, without giving myself away, I fell in love...with IT...IT was called a DANISH MARY, and IT DOES TATE LIKE CHRISTMAS!! I had a secret,but I confessed my love affair to my dear wife...asking her to keep the secret until December...BENTA's Birthday...a few days before Christmas.(get IT???)I got IT, WE got IT, for HER 21st Birthday...and Celebrated B-Day and X-Mas with Her New American/Scandinavian Friends: "AQUAVIT ONLY" and Scandinavian Hors d'oeu-vre(ho-d_______what?..,Canape,Snacks,Eats. We had a great/memorable time. OH...and guess what was under the Tree XMAS morning? IT! > LABEL: BRAND/SPIRIT=AALBORG/"AKVAVIT"@$15.00< DO NOT FORGET..."DANISH MARY".."IT".."TASTES LIKE CHRISTMAS" and only 26 weeks to go. I recommend having an affair first. HO>HO>SCOL...........MERRY MARY X-MAS!
                   
                  #9
                    seafarer john

                    RE: What is Aquavit? Thu, 07/17/03 10:10 PM (permalink)
                    I think our colleague M. Anderson has been drinking absinthe - wormwood- bad bad stuff.
                     
                    #10
                      Michael Anderson

                      • Total Posts: 16
                      • Joined: 7/14/2003
                      • Location: Oxford, OH
                      RE: What is Aquavit? Fri, 07/18/03 12:12 AM (permalink)
                      Seafarer John: I appreciate your humorous observation...honestly I do. The "Green-fairy", as Absenthe is known, and I are well aquainted...both in its' "banned"/illegal form here in the US, but ok in Amsterdam, and its modern counterpart/substitute form: Pernod; Herbsaint, etc. NOW widly used to make the Classic "SAZAREC" COCKTAIL originally made with Absenthe,in N-Orleans. Sorry if I said too much or the wrong thing(s) previously. ...just trying to share a True story with a "twist" and some "tips". I'm a good sport...and I trust you are too. I'll be more careful from here on...PEACE!
                       
                      #11
                        seafarer john

                        RE: What is Aquavit? Fri, 07/18/03 10:46 AM (permalink)
                        Mike, No offense meant or taken. I'll drink your health with a Sazarak this evening - thanks for reminding me of that great old cocktail that I havn't even heard of for years. Of course, after the Sazarak I'll have to have my ritual dry Martini.
                         
                        #12
                          VibrationGuy

                          • Total Posts: 229
                          • Joined: 12/7/2002
                          • Location: Seattle, WA
                          RE: What is Aquavit? Fri, 07/18/03 3:53 PM (permalink)
                          Wormwood isn't toxic, at least not in the concentrations that it develops in an ethanol and water solution. Absinthe makes people crazy because they're sitting around all afternoon sucking down 120-140 proof grain alcohol with sugar and flavorings.

                          I brought back some "white absinthe" from Portugal a few years ago. It's nice to have it hanging out. I'm a big fan of the whole pastis genre. Aquavit is the perfect accompaniment to smoked or pickled fish. It really plays well with the fat.

                          Very bummed to hear that Aquavit Minneapolis closed. It astounds me that Scandinavian food doesn't fly in the US, esp. upscale stuff.

                          Eric, Sadly.
                           
                          #13
                            EliseT

                            • Total Posts: 2849
                            • Joined: 7/11/2001
                            • Location: L.A, CA
                            RE: What is Aquavit? Fri, 07/18/03 4:05 PM (permalink)
                            I once had a woman (who, to her credit, WAS crazy), tell me to lay off the gin and tonics because the Juniper berries it is made out of will make you go crazy.
                             
                            #14
                              garykg6

                              • Total Posts: 358
                              • Joined: 6/22/2003
                              • Location: tampa, FL
                              RE: What is Aquavit? Fri, 07/18/03 4:07 PM (permalink)
                              HOLD ON JUST A MINUTE .....Most aquavit is in the 40-50 proof range,but not all of it. I know this as I once had to be helped home by well-meaning friend's("come on guy's, I'm not loaded....plop") after an evening of sampling this wretched example of the devils handiwork. Alas, I later found out the stuff we had gotten ahold of was 100 proof.......tread carefully on the 'water of life'
                               
                              #15
                                seafarer john

                                RE: What is Aquavit? Fri, 07/18/03 9:01 PM (permalink)
                                Elise T: Cheap gin will never hurt you - there aint no botanicals in it .
                                The better the gin the more it is likely to have toxic herbs, spices, botanicals and other neat things we humans like to experiment with.
                                Reason enough to drink the best gin you can afford.
                                 
                                #16
                                  seafarer john

                                  RE: What is Aquavit? Fri, 07/18/03 9:14 PM (permalink)
                                  Gary: Most vodka ( potato or grain spirits) is distilled to well over 50% alcohol. It is then thinned down with water and whatever the producer decides to add for flavors. The better aquavits ( and the better brandys and whiskeys) in my opinion are usually below 90 proof (45%). any level of alcohol over that seems to me to destroy and mask the flavor of the product. It's a pretty tricky tightrope the producers walk - I had some 70 proof apple brandy once and it was insipid stuff. Lovers of bourbon seem to favor 100 proof , and who am I to argue I never really got much into that particular ambrosia.
                                   
                                  #17
                                    Sundancer7

                                    RE: What is Aquavit? Fri, 07/18/03 9:25 PM (permalink)
                                    I think it is particularly interesting that a Scandi restaurant like Aquavit closes in Minneapolis considering that the huge population of Scandi's live in Minnesota.

                                    There are some weird dishes of fish in the northern surburbs. I know I will misspell this so please do not criticize me for it but it is something in the order of ludifish (SIC) I know it ain't right. I had one of my Scandi friends give me some of it one time. I guess you have to develop a taste for it. I thought it was pretty weird. They told me it was a seasonal thing and only available a short period of time annually perhaps for holidays.

                                    Paul E. Smith
                                    Knoxville, TN
                                     
                                    #18
                                      Mayhaw Man

                                      • Total Posts: 589
                                      • Joined: 7/5/2003
                                      • Location: Abita Springs, LA
                                      RE: What is Aquavit? Sun, 07/20/03 12:26 PM (permalink)
                                      Ah distilled spirits.....distillation by any other name is still distillation.

                                      Spirits come out of the still at high proof (measured as alcohol by volume (abv) in the US and GL (grams per liter) everywhere else. Most spirits are then "proofed back" by an addition of distilled water and, depending on what is trying to be achieved, sometimes flavorings and colors. Alcohol is generally transported from distillery to bottling plant at full strength and cut just before bottling. It is cheaper than transporting water added because the volume is sometimes only 1/2 again as much. I built a brewery in Tecate, MX a few years ago and the guy who owned it also had a distillery in Tequila. He would transport his bulk Tequila (bottled in Southern US as Torado, the one with the sombrero on top), and pass customs full strength and bottle in L.A. and LA. While the Torado as you buy it in the store was awful, the full strenth stuff was really interesting, not to mention powerful. We had a water cooler full of the stuff (one of those big glass bottle ones), which really impressed the heck out of visitors but could make for long afternoons if you got thirsty . The guy (Federico Cabo) also imports a bottled premium tequila called Tenoche. I highly reccomend it.

                                      As far a Aquavit goes, almost every region of the world has some clear distilled spirit, as all spirits appear out of the still. Aquavit, Pocheen, Moonshine, Guaro, Grappa, raw brandy, etc. are all made the same way mostly. Distillation of a fermented sugary liquid coming from a fruit or a vegetable. Generally, the native stuff is a single pass distillation and the stuff that ends up getting aged is distilled a couple or three times (Bourbon is an exception to this due to use of stills with thumper boxes (secondary units heated by alcohol steam from first unit)). I could go on for weeks, but I have gotten abit off of the subject . But it is a very interesting process and I like to talk about it. So sue me.
                                       
                                      #19
                                        Michael Anderson

                                        • Total Posts: 16
                                        • Joined: 7/14/2003
                                        • Location: Oxford, OH
                                        RE: What is Aquavit? Sun, 07/20/03 1:43 PM (permalink)
                                        Mr Mayhaw Man: How refreshingly informative! I for one appreciate the thoroughness/detail. You for sure have the backround/experience to do just that, and to show your passion for such things. I too share the same when it comes to FOOD..."from soup to...Nuts...like some people think you and I are when we "go off on IT" as we do now and then. ...Like we can help it? Never change...it's good for the mind, and necessary for SOUL! Here's look'in at you BROTHER!!!
                                         
                                        #20
                                          jgleduc

                                          • Total Posts: 145
                                          • Joined: 4/26/2003
                                          • Location: Providence, RI
                                          RE: What is Aquavit? Sun, 07/20/03 2:03 PM (permalink)
                                          Ah, absinthe...I haven't had that in a while. An old housemate of mine used to make it. With a little sugar and ice, it wasn't too bad - well, a lot of sugar and ice. That anise taste, all that sugar and so much alcohol: the effect, after a little while, was something like alternating shots of grain alcohol with mouthfuls of "Good 'n' Plenty" candies. Very odd.
                                           
                                          #21
                                            Michael Anderson

                                            • Total Posts: 16
                                            • Joined: 7/14/2003
                                            • Location: Oxford, OH
                                            RE: What is Aquavit? Sun, 07/20/03 7:46 PM (permalink)
                                            jgleduc: I respect your take on the absenthe spirit. (As always, "really I do") Keep in mind however, IT's All relative. Take a/an anything from our/your familiar way to another place, and it may be Odd to those there. What we like best, is what we are most familiar with. (Like "Rhode Island Reds" and Certain Seafood in your neck of the woods.) I Know that you KNOW these obvious things,but find it hard to apply to the Absenthe thing. By-the-way, isn't jgleduc ODD? I guess NOT...in the Cybor World. PEACE! A*









                                             
                                            #22
                                              jgleduc

                                              • Total Posts: 145
                                              • Joined: 4/26/2003
                                              • Location: Providence, RI
                                              RE: What is Aquavit? Sun, 07/20/03 9:31 PM (permalink)
                                              Michael: "odd" was probably a poor word choice - the basic anise flavor of absinthe is certainly not unusual, not even in the world of spirits what with all of the absinthe-substitutes that are out there. And it's a flavor I tend to like, actually. It's just that with the sugar, anise flavor and alcohol, the sense of (as I said before) doing shots and chowing on Good 'n' Plenty was definitely unusual once a certain amount had been consumed! But there's nothing wrong with that, nor did I mean to denigrate the drink. And I daresay not many of us who eat chicken are unfamiliar with the Rhode Island Red - if I'm not mistaken, it's still one of the most prominent breeds. There's nothing at all odd about my name, by the way, which is what "jgleduc" represents. It's not the French-Canadian equivalent of "John Smith", but it's not too far off, either.
                                              Best,

                                              JL
                                               
                                              #23
                                                VibrationGuy

                                                • Total Posts: 229
                                                • Joined: 12/7/2002
                                                • Location: Seattle, WA
                                                RE: What is Aquavit? Mon, 07/21/03 11:39 AM (permalink)
                                                The herbaceous green absinthes can be downright odd. They're patent mixes of botanicals unique to the producer, and the complexity puts gin to shame. I've pondered said complexity many times, the first time at the cocktail hour, and the second time......a bit later, with dreams of feral pigs chasing me through the streets of small Mediterranean villages for sport.

                                                Eric
                                                 
                                                #24
                                                  Sundancer7

                                                  RE: What is Aquavit? Mon, 07/21/03 11:42 AM (permalink)
                                                  VibrationGuy: Regarding the feral pigs chasing you for sport in your dreams, how many drinks did you have of the vile liquid?

                                                  Paul E. Smith
                                                  Knoxville, TN
                                                   
                                                  #25
                                                    VibrationGuy

                                                    • Total Posts: 229
                                                    • Joined: 12/7/2002
                                                    • Location: Seattle, WA
                                                    RE: What is Aquavit? Mon, 07/21/03 2:02 PM (permalink)
                                                    It doesn't take many - overproof and underfed = bad dreams. I figurd the pigs would be taking their revenge at some point; I didn't think it would be sooner rather than later.

                                                    Eric
                                                     
                                                    #26
                                                      Michael Anderson

                                                      • Total Posts: 16
                                                      • Joined: 7/14/2003
                                                      • Location: Oxford, OH
                                                      RE: What is Aquavit? Mon, 07/21/03 2:15 PM (permalink)
                                                      VibrationGuy/Sundancer7 and SeafarerJohn: Man-o-Man...from "Good & Plenty" to .."ferel pigs" to who knows what's next? Who knows...we might hear from someone "across the pond" where IT was recently legalized; France I think. By the way John, were you able to to get that SAZARAC you sought last week? ...followed by the Martini? That N'Orleans classic is very difficult to locate made correctly. P'EYCHAUD Bitters is a must. Maybe we can talk about that down the "ROAD...."! Regards to All, A*
                                                       
                                                      #27
                                                        Sundancer7

                                                        RE: What is Aquavit? Mon, 07/21/03 2:46 PM (permalink)
                                                        Is it illegal is the USA and if so why?

                                                        Reminds me of a trip I was making down interstate in West Virginia several years ago. I was traveling with a colleague who was driving and it was around 5:00PM. We were driving on to Charlotte, NC and since it was still quite a distance, I thought I might have my evening libation while my colleague was driving. We found a suitable exit and found the store and went in to make an acquisition. He informed me that it was election day and they could not sell me what I wanted, but he inquired if I might want some MJ. Go figure

                                                        Good ole West Virginia

                                                        Paul E. Smith
                                                        Knoxville, TN

                                                         
                                                        #28
                                                          Mayhaw Man

                                                          • Total Posts: 589
                                                          • Joined: 7/5/2003
                                                          • Location: Abita Springs, LA
                                                          RE: What is Aquavit? Mon, 07/21/03 2:47 PM (permalink)
                                                          http://www.sazerac.com/

                                                          You can get Peychuad's from these guys. I used to work for the CEO. You should be able to mail order Peychauds. It would be alot more fun to just go to the Monteleone in New Orleans and get one in the Carousel Bar. You could get a Gin Fizz while you are at it. It's a cocktail kind of town
                                                           
                                                          #29
                                                            Michael Anderson

                                                            • Total Posts: 16
                                                            • Joined: 7/14/2003
                                                            • Location: Oxford, OH
                                                            RE: What is Aquavit? Mon, 07/21/03 5:01 PM (permalink)
                                                            Everyone:(on this Absenthe subject) HEY...I'm really in GOOD company! ...makes me feel right at home, real comfortable. Thanks for the nice tip on the bitters. I made a note/filed it accordingly: taped it to the half full bottle I'll be needing "down the ROAD...." Respect to All, A*
                                                             
                                                            #30
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