Thursday, January 17, 2013


If you're looking for gift ideas that "come from the heart" because they are homemade, you may want to try out this recipe.  Aquavit is a great gift for your drinking friends.   Per Wikipedia:  "kvavit or aquavit  (ˈɑːkwəvt//ˈɑːkvəvt/; also akevitt in Norwegian) is a traditional flavored spirit that is principally produced in Scandinavia, where it has been produced since the 15th century.  Akvavit gets its distinctive flavor from spices and herbs, and the main spice should (according to the European Union) be caraway or dill."

Following is a slightly revised recipe for aquavit from "Kitchen of Light:  New Scandinavian Cooking with Andreas Viestad".  Here is what you will need to make enough for four (4) "gifts":

     Start with a very large jar.  Add to the jar:
6 teaspoons caraway seeds
3 teaspoons fennel seeds
6 teaspoons dill seeds
6 star anise (or less if you don't like the "licorice" taste)
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
3 whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks (3-inches long)
13 cups of your favorite vodka
     Cover the jar tightly and place it in a cool, dark place for about three (3) weeks, shaking every 3 or 4 days.  After about 2 weeks, taste it to see if you want the flavors to continue to develop.  When it's as strong as you like, strain it through a sieve lined with cheesecloth, throw out the seeds, and transfer the aquavit into four (4) gift bottles.  I found perfect bottles for this purpose at Pier One Imports.  Bag up the aquavit and give bottles of it to your friends.
     Prior to serving aquavit, place it in the freezer.  In fact, find a place in the freezer and keep it there at all times so that it is ready, at the perfect temperature, for impromptu serving.  Typically, aquavit is served in a 1 ounce tall glass which can also be pre-chilled.  Although it is meant to be drunk quickly in a shot glass, since it is simply flavored vodka, I also use it to make sweet, flavored martinis.  I've read that it makes a good apertif (served before a meal to stimulate the appetite), and also a good digestif (served after a meal to aid digestion).
     No matter how you use this, I hope you will enjoy it!!!