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Reach for a Bottle of American Aquavit

Like a long and slow burn, Scandinavia’s signature spirit, aquavit, has increasingly captured the attention of U.S. distillers in recent years. As they embrace the caraway-forward spirit, it’s easier than ever to find delicious expressions suited for sipping or mixing in cocktails, like the Scandinavian Daiquiri (pictured). Here are 7 bottles to help you kickstart an exploration of American-made aquavit.

GAMLE ODE Best known for its electrically fresh dill aquavit, Wisconsin’s Gamle Ode also leads the market in aged expressions, rested in various types of barrel to bring out flavors of oak and extra spice. The Alderen Dill Aquavit features the same base as the unaged dill aquavit, aged in various wine barrels ranging in age from 2 1/2 years to 3 1/2 years. The other four expressions from the distillery—Celebration, Holiday, Holiday on Rye, and Celebration on Rye—are intended for festive times of the year. Barrels of spirit are available for those interested in investing in more than a bottle.

KROGSTAD AQUAVIT Made in Portland, Oregon, by House Spirits (and named for distillery founder Christian Krogstad, who grew up in Seattle’s Scandinavian community), this powerhouse aquavit represents one of the first contemporary efforts to re-create the spirit on American shores. Both the unaged Festlig and aged Gamle feature star anise, the licorice-like seasoning that gives Krogstad its depth.

LONG ROAD DISTILLERS Made from grains grown within 30 miles of its Grand Rapids, Michigan, distillery, Long Road’s Original Aquavit is caraway-forward with a super-smooth finish, while its Old Aquavit is aged in whiskey barrels for more than one year.

NORDEN AQUAVIT For diehard aquavit fans, look no further than Norden’s flagship spirit, which at a robust 45% abv punches above its weight in intensity of flavor. Made in Michigan by bartender Robyn Cleveland, who fell in love with aquavit while visiting Copenhagen, the 10 botanicals in the bill include caraway, dill, coriander, sumac, orris, juniper, angelica, anise, sage and clementine.

NORTH SHORE DISTILLERY The spicy Private Reserve Aquavit from this Illinois distillery—one of the first to sell it domestically—tastes great straight, and it also lends Nordic spice to a Bloody Mary.

SVÖL AQUAVIT Made in Brooklyn, Svöl is now selling two aquavits in the Danish and Swedish traditions, with a Norwegian one on the way. Founder Peter Nevenglosky tapped Icelandic chef Gunnar Gíslason, business developer Jonas Andersen and distilling expert Allen Katz to arrive at these cocktail-ready aquavits.

VIKRE DISTILLERY From the wilds of Northern Minnesota, Vikre makes two aquavit options. The flagship, Øvrevann (which is Norwegian for Lake Superior), bears a lovely melody of dried citrus followed by a pleasing undercurrent of subtle cardamom. With a light-footed pine-kissed finish, it is a great introduction to the category for the aquavit-curious. Voyageur is an aged aquavit that rests in Cognac barrels, ideal for the more adventurous drinker; look for a big bouquet of oaky and nutty rye-like flavors with a heavy dusting of caraway. Thanks to a base of corn spirit, both bear a nice big texture on the palate.

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