Tasting Notes: Icelandic Spirits

Iceland's spirit production is small but strong and distinct

Icelandic Spirits

Brennivín

($36; 1L; drinkupny.com) Brennivín, the Icelandic version of unsweetened schnapps flavored with caraway and angelica, literally translates to "burning wine" and is often served with skata, fermented skate, on December 23rd.

Foss Distillery Birkir

($38; 375 ml; drinkupny.com) Made from a grain distillate infused with birch—a branch of which is left in the bottle for visual impact—this snaps has a perfumey, tealike flavor and a subtle, malty sweetness. Sip it on its own or with a bit of soda water.

Foss Distillery Björk

($38; 375 ml; drinkupny.com) Finished with birch syrup, this sweet liqueur has a root beer–like flavor and a drying, tannic finish. It's great paired with gin in a cocktail.

Martin Miller's Gin

($30; 750 ml; bevmo.com) Citrusy and just a bit sweet, this is an easy-drinking gin that plays well with others. It's a shoo-in for a refreshing gin and tonic, but it also shines in a martini garnished with a lemon peel.