27 November 2015


courtesy of www.dphtrading.dk
It's that time of the year to infuse some vodka into the warm caramelized colors of fall.  My yearly goal is to always find a nice hue that resembles Aalborg Jubilaeum Akvavit - my favorite snaps.  You will notice should you decide on making more than one that the colors will begin to subtly change in just a few days. Once you have assembled all the ingredients every morning you will gently turn the bottles upside down and shake of their contents to distribute their rich flavors and then, were returned to rest and repeat in another 3-5 days.

This quest may have you wondering...but, there is some reason in this madness of mine that I am sharing with you.  Having attended many a Danish celebration has given me a true awareness of the many varieties of akvavit that now exists. It may be just simple economics that has given way to my favorite akvavit being no longed exported to the US. But, it has given me impetus to understand and appreciate this part of my heritage even more. Whatever the true cause of what I will call the 'great embargo of 2009', I will do my best to find a comparable homemade substitute of my favorite water from the vine.  This little experiment will give you great delight in discovering the care and patience in producing a homemade version for someone stateside to enjoy.

So, let me share how this bottled batch was born.  First, all my Danish cookbooks (both in English and Danish) hit the kitchen counter.  There I went through each seeing what was available in background and recipes.  These I will list for your reference. Then, I went online and searched in both English and Danish databases/blogs/websites for additional recipes.  I have to tell you there were more recipes it seems than possible to try.  But, at least...they have become part of my own database and will then become part of this adventure that I am sharing with you.

With the first hurdle of finding recipes completed, I had to concentrate on the second most important part of this experiment, the ingredients. These all referred to choosing a liquid base ingredient with ingredients to flavor it.  In most Danish recipes the base ingredient that was used was unflavored 'Brændevin', which is general term for beverage distilled from potatoes, grain or in the past wood cellulose. Akvavit and vodka are derived from this same process.  Given this knowledge, I went online again and searched out potato vodkas and found it mainly a Polish product with some interesting commentary.  It seems in the world of vodka, the potato distilled version is viewed with little respect; except, Chopin Vodka.  Otherwise, the impression was one of basement brew.  Well, I did not need to enjoy a well-priced polished vodka for it's flavor alone.  So, I decided on this first endeavor to purchase some basic everyday polish potato vodka, 'Monopolowa' 750ml for a mere $12/bottle.  Purchase as many 500ml bottles as you may want to experiment. 

Below I have included the four recipes that I made in the past. I hope you will enjoy these as I have and remember to modify them as you think your palette might be pleased. 

DIRECTIONS for all Three Recipes

Open the vodka bottle, add all the remaining ingredients, and cover tightly.

Let stand in a cool, dark place for 2 to 3 weeks, shaking every 3 or 4 days – how long you let it sit depends on how strong you want it, so taste it after 2 weeks to see if you want to let it go longer.

When it’s as strong as you’d like, strain the solids through a sieve and discard them, then transfer the aquavit back into the bottle or unless otherwise, directed.

*Remove cloves early if they are too strong...they give off their oils first and can overwhelm the brew. Second to remove is the cinnamon depending on the recipe you use below.

To serve: place your aquavit in the freezer until chilled and serve in 1 ounce tall glasses....or you might find that your homemade snaps...tasted best served at room temperature.
    Herbal Snaps / 'Kryddersnaps'
    (1/2 recipe) 
    1-2 large spring of thyme
    10-12 dry whole cloves*
    1 tbsp tsp anise seed
    1 liter potato vodka

    Basic Citrus Snaps
    (1/2 recipe)
    2 tsp. caraway seeds 
    2 tsp. anise seeds (or 2 star anise) 
    1 whole clove* 
    peel from 1/2 orange
    1 liter potato vodka

    Andreas Viestad's Mock Aquavit Recipe
    (use 1/2 recipe)
    Recipe adapted from "Kitchen of Light: New Scandinavian Cooking with Andreas Viestad" by Andres Viestad. Prep time includes infusion.
    2 teaspoons caraway seeds
    1 teaspoon fennel seed
    2 teaspoons dill seeds
    2 star anise or 2 tsp anise seed
    1 tablespoon coriander seed
    1 whole clove*
    1 cinnamon stick, 1-inch long (optional)*
    2 teaspoons cumin seeds (optional)
    1 liter potato vodka

    ::FLASK Four
    Organic Julesnaps
    (full recipe)
    2 organic orange - grated peel
    50 g Organic cane sugar
    1 stk Organic cinnamon*
    5 Organic cloves*
    2 stk. Organic vanilla pods
    Fresh or dried Juniper berries
    500ml potato vodka

    Add the grated peel to a cookie sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake low for about 1hr. 
    Split the vanilla rods and scrape the seeds away.
    Add all ingredients to a large jars and put the lid on and shake well.

    Some Tips and Background:

    Collecting the fragrant berries and herbs is part of the adventure, when making homemade aquavit. Herbs can be found everywhere in the Danish countryside, but mostly in the area around the Liim Fiord. Here, in the beautiful, undisturbed countryside between fiord and sea runs “Snapseruten” (the Aquavit Trail). Take a book with good images and descriptions of the plants along with you – or go to www.snapseruten.dk (available in Danish, Swedish and German) and read up on some good tips on precisely where to find the various herbs.

    1. Herbs and berries
    Go out and pick herbs and berries when the morning mist has lifted. The more ripe they are, the more flavoursome. Use a basket for your harvest, clean it and lay the herbs and berries in a lidded jar.

    2. The essence
    To make spiced aquavit, concentrate on the essences. You release essences by filling a jar or empty aquavit bottle with one type of herb or berry, then filling it with BRØNDUMS Snaps or BRØNDUMS Snaps Klar. Put the lid on the jar so it is airtight and allow the essence to extract. The infusion time will vary. As a rule of thumb, fresh and dried herbs should be filtered out after a week at most, while berries, fruits and roots should soak for a week to six months.

    3. Filtering and aging
    When the essence has been extracted, it must be filtered using a coffee filter or cloth. Then pour the purified essence into a decorative bottle and set it aside for aging. As a rule of thumb, the less sweet berries and nuts – juniper and walnuts, for example – improve the longer they are aged. The flavour components will develop, impurities fall to the bottom and certain essences will also take on a beautiful golden hue. On the other hand, nothing is gained by allowing juicy berries like strawberries to age for long.

    4. Taste testing
    Should the essence be allowed to age for longer, or is it ready to drink? In this case there is only one thing to do: Close your eyes, taste it and rely on the sensations in your stomach.

    5. Serving
    Invite family and friends around for homemade aquavit and something tasty from the kitchen. Put the essence on the table and dilute to taste with BRØNDUMS Snaps or BRØNDUMS Snaps Klar. Every essence tastes fantastic on it own, but blending is also allowed. However, flavours can become muddled if you blend too many essences, which makes the aquavit taste of everything and nothing. One or two – and rarely more – herbs and berries that go together well will give the best “little taste”to your good company. Honey can be used to strengthen the flavour.

    PERSONAL NOTE: Since Brøndums Snaps is not readily unavailable in the USA, use potato vodka as the base.


    27 March 2015


    courtesy of All Day Chic
    It's nice to see that eating habits are changing...especially, in the United States.

    Much of eating open face sandwiches has just been a novelty up to now. But, with the advent of new full grain, gluten free and other variety breads there has also been a new way of getting the consumer to enjoy these new ones by showing them how easy it is to start of the day Topless as well.

    A blog by the name All Day Chic has a wonderful introduction for showing you how to make your first morning meal one full of energy. 

    She has her own name for them...though they are still Danish open face sandwiches or as I like to call them...Topless Bread. Either way, she has some nice ideas for changing up the average American breakfast bread into a nice version of a old classic.

    21 Creative Breakfast Toasts That are Boosting Your Energy Levels

    courtesy of All Day Chic
    What she provides are more everyday foods found in the American multi-cultural pantry. 
    But, they give you a good idea of how you can improvise on your own with a simply piece of health toast bread to start off your day. 

    Personally I'll do a simple soft-boiled egg or if I am in a hurry, I like a good toasted sprouted rye bread with a simple layer of organic whipped honey on it. Call it energy brain food. 

    Discover your own way to go...Topless!

    07 January 2015

    2015 Another Chapter Begins...

    It's a new year and time for new beginnings!
    Let's see what health will allow me to make and to produce for my dear sweet blog.
    I currently have a few plans in the making.
    Here is to love, happiness and health to all.
    karen : )


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