Courtesy Chaim Dauermann, head bartender, The Up & Up, New York City.
Also produced in Iceland, caraway-accented aquavit is particularly embraced in the country, where it’s the national drink. This bottling, playfully dubbed “the black death” due to its austere ebony label (and perhaps an aquavit-induced hangover or two), is nuanced and refreshing, with a mild, savory scent that suggests dill, fennel seed and pine. Brennivín Aquavit ideal to pair with herring or other savory bites.
The Up & Up was one of the first bars in the U.S. to carry Brennivín, and it continues to showcase the spirit in a wide range of drinks like this one. Cucumber and a hoppy Pilsner pleasingly accent the herbaceousness of the aquavit.
- 3–4 slices cucumber, plus additional slices for garnish
- 1½ ounces Brennivín aquavit
- ½ ounce Dolin Blanc Vermouth
- ¼ ounce Rabarbaro Zucca amaro
- 1 ounce Stiegl Goldbräu Pilsner
- 1 piece lemon peel
In mixing glass, muddle cucumber slices into juicy pulp. Add next three ingredients and ice. Stir well. Add the beer.
Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Twist lemon peel over the drink to express its oils, then discard. Garnish with remaining cucumber slices.