The Zuiderzee Cocktail featuring Krogstad Aquavit from Oregon

June 5, 2012

There is something eerie and very mysterious about Krogstad Aquavit.  First of all Aquavit comes from the place in the world best known for iconic flavors.  From pickled herring with cream and onions, to smoked salmon slathered with sour cream and dill, the region of Scandinavia is rich with a rugged sensibility. 

Look to the architecture.  Swedish Modern, Norwegian sensibility of form through good use of materials and function.  

The liquors imbibed in the Scandanavian countries are no less important.  Aquavit is truly the water of life for people who can trace their ancestry to the Nordic parts of our world.

Krogstad Aquavit is not made in Norway, nor is it from Denmark or Sweden. Passionate craftsmen in the quaint city of Portland, Oregon, produce Krogstad Aquavit.  Open the bottle and smell the aroma of Star Anise and caraway seed. Then suddenly the sensuous aromatics of Southeast Asia.

There is really nothing that smells like this on the market.  Krogstad Aquavit is pure and tastes like a cool night on the fjords.  I see cocktail possibilities that exceed your usual vodka and soda.

Krogstad Aquavit has rich and gobs of intense flavor.  There is nothing wimpy about the way it tantalizes your tongue.  The Star Anise is a mysterious element that hails from Southeast Asia, the basis of a great bowl of pho’ is the Star Anise element.  But you aren’t supping from a bowl of pho’ what you have in front of you is a gorgeous bottle of Krogstad Aquavit.

I took a small bottle of syrup from Sumptuous Syrups of Vermont and transformed the cool sensibilities of the Aquavit into something very sensuous and beguiling.  The Black Currant Syrup is concentrated and very Nordic in approach.  I envisioned a trip that my parents took me on to Denmark.  Every meal involved large amounts of drinking. Why should my memories be clouded by mere flavors of vodka or gin?  My memories of the Scandinavian countries always involved Aquavit!

I also added a healthy dosage of the brilliant, Arizona Bitters Labs: Hopi Tea Bitters.  It’s really difficult to imagine in words what these evocative bitters taste like.  I imagine an event out of reach to most Americans.  The tea in question here is an Indian Tea.  Like a Root Tea of the early settlers, this concoction of bitter herbs and roots adds a dimension of mystical worlds, quite piquant, yet unlocking unsaid dreams and hidden realities of the First Nation people.   

The Zuiderzee is the name of this cocktail that unlocks the closed doors to the vividly imaginable.  The secret entrance to the universe is just beyond your first pensive sips.   Like the Zuiderzee is to the modern day historian, my cocktail reveals mystery slowly.

This historical area, the Zuiderzee is where many English and American pilots ditched their planes after unleashing their fury on Germany in WWII.  Many ran out of fuel and “landed” in the shallow waters of the Zuiderzee. Now, decades and decades later, the planes reveal themselves at low tide” like ghost ships passing in the night.

The Zuiderzee Cocktail (Will drench two of you completely in a well disguised play on words)

4 Shots Krogstad Aquavit: Kept extremely well chilled in a cocktail shaker

AZ Bitters Lab: Hopi Tea Bitters

Sumptuous Syrups of Vermont- Black Current Simple Syrup


Ice your Martini glass with ice and water until quite cold

Pour out ice and water

Add 2 Tablespoons of Sumptuous Syrups of Vermont Black Current Syrup to the glass

Strain the very chilled Krogstad Aquavit over the syrup

Add 4 drops to each glass of the AZ Bitters Lab- Hopi Tea Bitters over the top


Sip into the Dreamtime, Nordic Style via Portland, Oregon




scott egan's picture

Another great hit Warren...if these become really popular, one of the great things that the Norwegians do (and probably done throughout Scandinavia), is to mix Aquavit and bitters and put it into a rotating freezer (like a Slurpie machine) then serve it in a glass which frosts instantly...the ritual is three of these and some conversation/ 15 minutes in the sauna/ a dip in a cold pool,or fjord, or roll in the snow/ then start over...up all night and no hangover!

heidi-younggrasshopper's picture

I need to dust off my Aquavit....