Bäska Snaps med Malört

What Is It?

A bitter Scandanvian schnapps made with licorice, wormwood, and caraway. Traditionally, Scandinavians infuse aquavit with bitter herbs to drink during the cold winter holidays. Commercially, there are fewer and fewer distilleries producing these bitter spirits. The Bittermens Spirits version keeps the tradition alive by not shying away from the bitterness. Bittermens Spirits partner Mayur Subbarao describes it as, "a very northern European flavor set. It is wormwood and gentian heavy and is earthy, heavy, and herbal."

How To Drink It

Whereas Bittermens founder Avery Glasser enjoys just sipping the Bäska Snaps, Mayur notes, "this is off the bitterness spectrum for something I would want to sip on, but I find it excellent to mix with." From a mixing approach, the bitter sugar balance, the acid level and its texture of the Bäska reminds him of Campari and Gran Classico amaro. Which means it works well in variations on the Negroni, Paper Plane, and Americano -- just swap out the bitter components in the cocktails one for one with the Bäska.

Mayur also notes, "because of its proof, it also plays a lot like Angostura Bitters. The Baska though works really well in a Trinidad Sour or the Angostura Flip."

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Salmiakki Dala

What Is It?

Salmiak or Salmiakki candy is a strong salt-flavored licorice candy. The salt flavor in the candy actually comes from ammonium chloride (sal ammoniac) is an acquired tasted, but Scandinavians love it. So much so that they have been known to put their favorite salty candy into a bottle of aquavit. Bittermens Spirits took this concept and made their Salmiakki Dala. The idea was to make a bitter combination of the salty licorice flavor with a classic Fernet.

How To Drink it

Because of the salt content, Mayur says it works really well in drinks with cucumber and muddled lemon. "The Prize Fighter is a really great drink made by my friend Nick Jarrett. It is a smash that uses Fernet and Antica in equal parts as a base with muddled lemon, sugar, a little bit of lemon juice. Using the Salmiakki instead of the Fernet works incredibly well."

He also recommends using it longer drinks and since it pairs nicely with ginger, try bringing a new flavor component to the Dark 'n' Stormy. Swap out the rum for the Salmiakki and add ginger ale and a lime wedge. "It is really fabulous." Another option is using it in a variant on the South Side Fizz, which is traditionally made with gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, mint leaves, and club soda.

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Solståndet

WHAT IS IT?

The Solståndet is name for the spring solstice and is the first malted aquavit that plays both like a Dutch Genever and a Danish Aquavit and because of the malted rye, it also has a flavor component reminiscent of rye whisky. Genever is the malted juniper flavored Dutch predecessor to the modern day gins and Aquavit is the Danish spirit flavored with caraway or dill, among other flavors.

How To Drink It

Traditionally aquavit is enjoyed at festive gatherings and sipped chilled from a shot glass. "Since the Solståndet is an even blend of genever and aquavit, the obvious uses are to swap it in for pretty much any use of gin, but because it is a rye aquavit and because like genever is maintains the malt and the texture of the base grain, looking at it in whiskey drinks is also really worth it." The Negroni is a perfect example, but it also works really well in an Old Pal (made with rye whiskey, dry vermouth, Campari, and a lemon twist). "The Old Pal is the drink I have made the most often with it." Since the Solståndet is 95 proof and acts like a beefy rye, use it instead of rye in a Manhattan, Carroll Gardens, and the Greenpoint. If you make a Greenpoint with the Solståndet, instead of using rye, you could also try using another spirit imported by Vendetta Spirits, the Emile Pernot Liqueur de Sapin, instead of the green Chartreuse.

At Amor y Amargo Avery perfected a version of the Gibson called the Scandi Gibson using 2oz of Solståndet, 1oz Atxa Bianco Vermouth, 10 drops Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub, and 10 drops Bittermens Orchard Street Celery Shrub, and of course garnished with a cocktail onion.

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The Pros

Avery Glasser started Bittermens Bitters in 2007 with his wife Janet. Along with sommelier / bartender / liqueur maker Mayur Subbarao, they launched Bittermens Spirits in 2011, which produces American-produced artisanal liqueurs, cordials and vermouths. Most recently in 2013, the trio launched Vendetta Spirits with the idea of "nano-importing," which means helping and importing small production spirits that may never see the light of the US market.

Get the Recs | Download the App

Download the Find. Eat. Drink. iPhone app to get the FED drinking guides by Avery and Janet Glasser and Mayur Subbarao.


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