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Baltic Travel Blog

Drinks You Must Try in the Nordics

Posted on May 2nd, 2019.

The Nordic nations – namely, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland – are perfect destinations for foodies looking to indulge in the unique cuisine of northern Europe. To accompany such intriguing specialities as reindeer meat and pickled herrings, there are some great, and perhaps not so great, drinks that you must try.

From strong schnapps and local brandies to ice beers and fermented milk, there’s a huge selection of beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, just waiting to be drunk.

To guide you through the selection process, here are a few drinks that you just have to try when you are visiting the Nordics.

Aquavit

Aquavit is a drink that’s as ubiquitous across the Nordics as snow is in winter. This hard liquor comes in many different national varieties, and the name changes from Aquavit to Akvavit depending on where you are and who you ask. The premise is the same though, and at 40 per cent alcohol you might not want to overindulge.

Aquavit means ‘Water of Life’, and this strong spirit has for centuries been distilled from potatoes and grain, and flavoured with a variety of herbs and spices to give it a unique aftertaste, and quite a burn. It’s perfect for livening up those long winter nights, and even long summer days too.

, Drinks You Must Try in the Nordics

Gammel Dansk

Gammel Dansk is one of Denmark’s national drinks, whose name translates to English as ‘Old Danish’. This dark, brown spirit is fiery and flavoursome, as it’s distilled with countless different herbs. It’s also rather bitter and, for some, it can take quite some getting used to.

At around 38 per cent alcohol, it’s a strong drink. Despite being a very recent concoction by Danish distillers in 1964, it’s become somewhat of a household name and is drunk at celebrations and on festive occasions across Denmark.

, Drinks You Must Try in the Nordics

Brennivín

The Icelandic strong spirit of choice is Brennivín, which translates loosely as ‘Burning Wine’. This is a spirit that’s certainly not for the faint of heart, and you’ll need an iron composure to not flinch if you’re offered a shot in Iceland.

Brennivín is distilled from potatoes and grain, much like Aquavit, and the completed product is a clear, schnapps-like liquid that at 40 per cent alcohol will burn anything in its path.

, Drinks You Must Try in the Nordics

Filmjölk

After some hard Nordic spirits, you may require something to soothe the stomach a little. The Swedes just might come to the rescue with their popular dairy drink, Filmjölk.

Be careful though, as Filmjölk can be notoriously sour. Cow’s milk is fermented to give it an acid bite and an unusual thickness, in a process that can trace its roots far back to the days of the Vikings, if not before. You can drink this fermented milk drink straight out of the glass, and you can enjoy it with your breakfast cereal in the morning too.

Sahti

Sahti is a Finnish speciality; a dark malted beer that’s flavoured with junipers. Traditionally, Finnish farmers used their leftover grain alongside barley or rye, and anything else they had to hand, to make a strong alcoholic beverage.

At 8 per cent alcohol, it’s stronger than most beers, and it’s very strong in character too. There are more than a few different brands and varieties to try when you visit Finland, and you’ll find that it makes an interesting change from lager.

, Drinks You Must Try in the Nordics

Icelandic Glacial Water

Iceland is famed for the quality of its water, so much so that companies even export it across the world these days. That water comes straight from the glaciers and is perhaps the purest, most undisturbed, and cleanest water found anywhere.

While you could buy a bottle of heavily branded glacial water in an Icelandic supermarket and pay a premium, you can in fact simply run the tap and fill your glass with cold water that’s pumped almost directly from its source.

, Drinks You Must Try in the Nordics

Ice Beer

Greenland is another Nordic destination that puts its abundance of ice to great use too. As well as filling the pipes of Greenlander’s homes with pure water, they use it to create a beautiful Ice Beer.

Ice Beer uses melted glacial ice, straight from the huge icebergs found around the island, and it makes for an incredibly refreshing brew.

Jaloviina

Jaloviina is a Finnish spirit that combines both cognac and clear alcohol to produce a unique national drink. From 1919 until 1932, Finland outlawed the production and sale of alcoholic beverages. Immediately after the law was changed and prohibition was lifted in 1932, Jaloviina was marketed to incredible success across the country.

The brandy drink though had a long history prior to this, and its unique blends were always popular in the country. Modern brews still make use of centuries-old recipes.

, Drinks You Must Try in the Nordics

Carlsberg

Carlsberg is a lager that can be found in almost every bar across the world, such is its popularity, and such is the marketing prowess of the brewing company. The beer originates from Denmark, where the famous beverage was first brewed in Copenhagen in the 1840s.

When you are in Denmark, and particularly Copenhagen, it would be a travesty not to try such a well-known beverage where it all began. You can even visit the brewery to sample probably the freshest Carlsberg in the world.

, Drinks You Must Try in the Nordics

Coffee

The Nordic nations are all countries that consistently vie with each other for the top place when it comes to calculating the national level of coffee consumption. Since coffee was introduced to Northern Europe a few hundred years, it’s become ingrained in its culture. People from across the Nordics are considered to be the biggest coffee drinkers in the world.

You’ll find coffee available everywhere, and you can find some excellent roasts and cups of coffee from Finland to Greenland, without ever having to duck into a Starbucks. The Norwegians hold coffee championships, while in Sweden an entire subculture has grown around the enlightening concept of Fika, just having a coffee.

, Drinks You Must Try in the Nordics

If these Nordic beverages have inspired you to travel to the region in search of a drink, then contact the Baltic Travel Company today for some expert advice on booking your Nordic holiday.

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We never allow third parties to use your data and we do not keep financial information. We protect your data as if it was our own, because we're people too!


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