With the hectic holidays looming, we’ll grab any excuse to take time out for a festive drink. Enter Aquavit Week, Portland’s fourth annual city-wide celebration of Scandinavia’s go-to winter spirit—a shiver-shocked booze bursting with the flavors of caraway, dill, and licoricey anise.
Masterminded by roving bartender and author Jacob Grier (of bone luge and beer cocktails fame), the fest enlists Portland’s (and Seattle’s) finest barkeeps to highlight small batch aquavits from both Scandinavia and the States Dec 6–12. Basically, chances are, if you’re having a nightcap at one of Stumptown’s favorite bars next week, from Rum Club to Expatriate, you’re gonna be raising a glass of the bright, herbaceous spirit either straight or swirled into a bright, merry cocktail.
The party kicks off Sunday, December 6 at Scandi spirits ground zero, Broder Nord, which boasts the largest collection of aquavits in the city. Tastes, cocktails, smorgasbord nibbles, and legit Scandinavian toasts about Santa gnomes and binge drinking included (psst: we told you all about ‘em in our awesome Scandinavian Holiday entertaining story in this month’s issue of Portland Monthly).
Also on the docket: Seven Days of Aquavit, featuring seven different cocktails from a septet of bartenders all at Bit House Saloon, each available for one day only; special cocktails and flights at Multnomah Whiskey Library and the Rookery; “Snaps & Beer,” with Alameda aquavit barrel aged holiday ale to coffee and cardamom spiced barleywine from Upright, at Hop and Vine; and a big, late night, aquavit-fueled Scandi-party at La Moule.
Wanna get the party started early at home? Grier was kind enough to share a dynamite Nordic holiday punch recipe with us for our Scandinavian Holiday story. Aquavit, specifically caraway-heavy Icelandic Brennevin, forms the foundation of the tart winter punch, which gets a sweet, bubbly boost from Meyer lemons and sparkling wine—all stained a luscious pink with the addition of hibiscus tea. Skal!