Regardless of whether it is Aquavit, Kümmel or Köm, the basics of these spirits are quite similar. However, if you order aquavit specifically, you can assume that your shot glass will contain at least 37.5 % alcohol. If you opt for a Kümmel or Köm, there is a spirit with a lower alcohol content, which tends to be milder.

Caraway plays a similar role for aquavit as juniper does for gin

Originally conceived as a remedy, aquavit was made by distilling alcohol with caraway, aniseed, dill, fennel and other herbs. This practice, which was documented as early as the 15th century, reflects the belief at the time that alcoholic drinks with added herbs could have healing properties. Caraway, known for its digestive properties, always remains the main spice. It gives the aquavit its characteristically tart and spicy flavour, which is less sweet than a herbal liqueur and less strong than a bitters. To this day, dill, fennel, coriander, cinnamon and cloves are added to refine the flavour of aquavit. After further distillation, the schnapps is stored for maturation so that the flavours can develop optimally.

High-quality aquavit matures in wooden barrels, for example in old sherry barrels, which give the spirit additional aromas and can intensify its colour from a light yellow to a deep golden hue. The so-called table aquavit matures in very old barrels that no longer release any colour into the spirit. Before bottling, the spirit is then brought to drinking strength with distilled or demineralised water.

In Scandinavia, where aquavit is particularly rooted, the character of the drink varies from country to country and reflects the culinary preferences and botanical resources of the region. In Norway, for example, aquavit is traditionally distilled from potatoes and often stored in oak barrels to give it a subtle woody flavour. Sweden and Denmark, on the other hand, favour a clearer, more herbaceous version that is fresh and aromatic.

Aquavit is also known as a special spirit in northern Germany, where it is usually referred to simply as "Kümmel" or "Köm". In Schleswig-Holstein, a distinction is made between the light-coloured and the yellow Köm, whereby the yellow Köm can sometimes also have a hint of aniseed.

The ideal way to enjoy aquavit is quite simple: iced from tall stemmed glasses that have been chilled in the freezer beforehand - this is how most people like it, especially as a digestif after a sumptuous meal. In Norway, however, aquavit is drunk at room temperature from tulip-shaped nosing glasses to bring out the flavours better. In North and East Frisia, caraway is also used as a base for traditional tea punch. Aquavit is also increasingly being used as an ingredient in cocktails and long drinks, adding a special flavour to classic mixed drinks and new creations.
At Behn, we stock two classic North German aquavits: the well-balanced Gosch Aquavit. spirit offers the Sylt lifestyle with top quality. Lovers of North Frisian drinking culture will be delighted with De geele Köm – the yellow classic, not only in tea punch.