Jason Wilson, Table Matters blogger, acquired his taste for aquavit, or the "water of life," in Copenhagen, Denmark. He would drink it ice cold in a small glass paired with a traditional open-faced, rye-bread sandwich piled with smoked salmon, pickled herring or smoked eel.
Returning to the United States, he discovered that few shared his enthusiasm for aquavit, some even likening the flavor to that of rocket fuel.
"It feels a little xenophobic to me, and I get impatient with those who dismiss the world's great aqua vitae with the rocket-fuel label," Wilson writes. "Aquavit is a lovely, complex spirit, and I have made it my mission as a spirits writer to spread its gospel."
Wilson explains that aquavit is essentially a vodka flavored with spices and herbs such as caraway, fennel, dill, coriander and anise but distilled many more times than most vodkas, making it more rounded and approachable to sip straight.