Here’s your Norwegian “matpakka”
This post is part of our Scandinavian outlook series where we explore what’s cooking on the Scandinavian cocktail scene.
When asking around for people in Norway with passionate opinions about aquavit in cocktails Truls Thomsen is often mentioned.
In May 2017 Truls opened his own bar Pjolter & Punsj in Stavanger where the focus is Scandinavian drinking culture. Naturally quite a few of the drinks on the menu are based on aquavit.
We’ll let Truls present this week’s featured cocktail:
Truls: Aquavit can be a very complex spirit to work with. Although it is similar to gin in some ways, it can often be much harder to work with in a cocktail. But if you get it right you will also get a more complex drink.
For our first menu at Pjolter & Punsj our main objective has been to give aquavit a new face to the average Joe. We focused on punches* and collins’, to show people that aquavit can be enjoyed in light and refreshing drinks – like our Piknik Punsj:
Piknik Punsj is a fresh and summery drink where you taste the aquavit in a subtler way. This really represent some of the Norwegian culture of always bringing your own lunch (matpakka) and your coffee. And for those few days of summer, we love bringing that piknik to the park or the beach.
120 ml Lysholm No. 52 aquavit
60 ml Cocchi Rosa
60 ml Oleo Saccharum
120 ml water
12 dashes Peychauds bitter
Mix everything in a big mixing glas, and strain into a thermos. Serve in a picnic basket with cups, orange and some chocolate.
Truls: Aquavit is very new in cocktails compared to other spirits, and it’s only during the last 5 years that it has really starting to become one of the most exciting spirits to work with in a cocktail bar. Today we see almost every cocktail bar in Scandinavia having at least one aquavit cocktail on the menu, and I do believe that it’s there to stay. There are no proper classic cocktails made with aquavit, so I think that we are now shaping the foundation of aquavit cocktails.
*Punch is mostly known as an English drink consisting of Arrack, citrus, sugar, water and tea or spices. However, it was also very popular in Scandinavia, and especially in Sweden.
The Swedes were also importing Arrack from Indonesia and they made their own version of the Punch (or Punsch as they write it). They used an acidic white wine instead of the citrus fruits together with Arrack, sugar and black tea. This made the Swedish Punsch a lot sweeter than the English version. It was usually served as a liqueur, either hot or cold, but after the popularity of the Swedish Punsch grew it was exported in bottles and used in cocktails in the United States.