In addition to using caraway and dill—the most traditional flavors for aquavit—in Sweden, home cooks make the spirit with an infinite variety of spices, herbs, and other flavorful botanicals. To make your own at home, combine aromatics with a neutral spirit such as vodka in a 1:1 ratio. Let the mixture steep in a lidded glass jar in the refrigerator for two to four days, depending on your preferred degree of flavor. Then strain and discard the aromatics if you like. See below for some ideas for infusions.
1. Vibrant red rhubarb lends a beautiful ruby glow to the aquavit, while the alcohol softens and tempers the stalks’ signature tartness.
2. The dominant flavor in gin, juniper berries, the fruit of a member of the conifer family, give off a menthol spice with just a hint of sweetness.
3. Caraway seeds, another traditional flavor, give off a musky, yeasty rye-bread flavor.
4. Feathery fronds of dill bring a refreshing grassy note with a mild celery-like flavor.
5. With a fragrance reminiscent of roses, delicate, pale pink cherry blossoms impart a floral note with a touch of bitter almond.
6. Sprigs of lemon verbena, a flowering shrub with a lemony aroma, add a peppery citrus kick.