You'd be surprised how many people come in looking for aquavit these days. Not just Scandinavian natives either, but people with a real affinity for the stuff. In the last few weeks I've had people asking if K&L could import obscure Swedish brands for their own personal use, begging me for detailed breakdowns between the different types currently available, and hounding me for not carrying more of a diverse selection. "You think we should devote more of the extremely-hot Bourbon shelf to aquavit?" I'd respond, rather confused. Part of my reluctance to expand the aquavit department stems from the lack of inspiring options available in the states. Aquavit is pretty much Scandinavian gin (grain neutral spirit macerated and/or distilled with herbs and spices) except rather than juniper being the primary botanical, the main focus is usually caraway, dill, or anise. You sip it after a meal like grappa or shoot it with a beer like genever. Most of what we get state-side is the Bombay Sapphire version of the market.
I wasn't necessarily looking for a new aquavit, but I'll carry anything that's tasty and well-made, especially if it's made by Sean Venus—a guy who I think will be a big star before the year is over. When Sean brought this by for us to taste a few weeks back, my eyes about popped out of my head. "Now that is some mighty-fine aquavit!" I exclaimed to him. It was everything I wanted from that strange, yet beloved spirit, so I bought a few cases for the store. Check out the notes below:
Venus Spirits Aquavit Blend #1 $32.99- Sean Venus is back at it again, this time with an incredible aquavit that's easily the most authentic tasting version you'll find outside of Scandinavia. Made with caraway, coriander, star anise, juniper, and orange, the Venus batch #1 aquavit is almost like a gin in disguise. The caraway is definitely the star of the show, however, rather than the anise, so get ready for serious old school flavor. It's clean and fresh; the orange and coriander lifting the caraway into what almost tastes like rye before settling back down with a peppery finish. Regional white spirits are due for a big revival and this is just the type of thing that could set that trend in motion. Drink this after a big meal of pickled fish or sip it along side a glass of pilsner. It's the real deal.