AALBORG AKVAVIT ($21)

The Danes love their aquavit (or akvavit, as they spell it). In 1800, there were more than 2,500 independent distilleries in Denmark, 273 of them in Copenhagen alone. By 1923, the large DDSF conglomerate had gobbled up all of them and held a state monopoly on the production of aquavit in Denmark. The company, now known as Danisco, still produces a good percentage of the world's aquavit. It makes about a dozen versions with various flavor profiles, but only two are currently imported to the States: the dill-flavored Jubilaeums and this caraway-flavored version, Aalborg Akvavit.

In Denmark, aquavit is also known as snaps (schnapps), but don't confuse it with the syrupy, sweetened schnapps that's served in U.S. bars. This Danish version has a sweet nose, but is squeaky dry on the palate. Aalborg has a clean herbal flavor profile spearheaded by caraway. It makes a perfect Scandinavian-accented Bloody Mary. It's also fabulous with smoked salmon.

BUYER'S GUIDE

LINIE AQUAVIT;
www.linie-aquavit.com

Complex and Toasty
Serve on the rocks with a twist.

O.P. ANDERSON;
www.crillonimporters.com

Spicy and Rich
Great with gravlax

AALBORG AKVAVIT;
www.distillers.dk

Herbal and Clean
Try it in a Bloody Mary