Ballard, long known for its rich Scandinavian heritage, has a new exhibit at the Nordic Heritage Museum called SKAL (pronounced “sk-OOL”) Scandinavian Spirits.
This exhibition explores the cultural history of Scandinavian libations, the most famous being aquavit (sometimes spelled “akvavit”). I can tell you that it’s delicious! And being a good Scandinavian myself, I’ve drank my fair share of it and I am thrilled to see this sip become hip.
But what is it? Aquavit, like vodka, is a spirit distilled from either grain or potatoes. After distillation, it is distinctive flavor comes from a blend of herbs and spices like caraway, fennel, and dill.
Great for sipping, I also like to add this into cocktails from Nordic-themed Bloody Mary’s as well as in my Citrus Scandi (aquavit, vodka, Cointreau, orange, and fresh grapefruit).
What’s really exciting is that the Northwest is producing some pretty great aquavit: Portland’s House Spirits produces Krogstad and in Seattle the Old Ballard Liquor Company crafts several unique styles of aquavit.
Old Ballard Liquor Company proprietor Lexi is also the visionary behind the pop-up restaurant Tumble Swede, which celebrates a mash-up of Scandinavian and Pacific Northwest cuisine. Make sure to keep an eye out for her next pop-up.
So stop on by the Nordic Heritage Museum the exhibit runs until February 28th.