Aquavit, genever, gin, and whiskey (or whisky as the Canadians and Scots spell it), as well as vodka and the unflavored German schnapps called korn, are all part of the extended family of grain-based spirits. Except for whiskey and korn, whose compositions are strictly controlled by legislation, these potent drinks can also contain so-called agricultural alcohol made from molasses, potatoes, and other ingredients.
The name of this strong Scandinavian spirit is derived from the Latin tii,i vitae (water of life), and was once the designation for all liquor. The basis of the pale or golden-yellow aquavit is very pure, almost nil-less alcohol distilled from grain or potatoes with 96 percent alcohol by volume, or almost 200 proof.
It is distilled with water and a variety of flavorings, such as caraway (the most traditional), cinnamon, cloves, coriander, dill, fennel, lemon peel, and star anise, along with a number of “secret” ingredients. The heart of the distillate is then mixed with neutral alcohol and softened water and left to mature in the producer’s cellars or warehouse. The alcohol content of dinish aquavit is 80 to 84 proof;...