Welcome to this week’s installment of our Thirsty Thursday blog. This week’s featured drink comes to us from Scandinavia and is known as Akvavit. Let’s learn about this liquor and where it comes from.
Akvavit or aquavit is a flavored liquor that is produced in Scandinavia since the 15th century. It is the most popular drink in Denmark and is also drank in Germany, England and parts of the U.S. with large Scandinavian settlements. It’s distinctive flavor comes from it’s main spice caraway. It is also made with cardamom, cumin, anise, fennel, lemon and orange peel, some varieties even include dill. It is generally 40% alcohol by volume and must have at least 37.5% alcohol by volume to be called Akvavit by the rules set by the European Union.
This drink is very popular in Scandinavian culture. It is generally drank at weddings and holiday celebrations. It is an aperitif and generally sipped from a small shot glass accompanied by a dark beer. It is similar to vodka, as it is distilled from grains or potatoes. It is then flavored with the spices listed above.
The earliest reference to Akvavit in Scandinavian culture comes from 1531. In a letter from the Danish lord of Bergenshus to the Roman Catholic Archbishop the lord references the archbishops illness with suggestions on the healing powers of Akvavit. Although these so called healing powers were a bit over exaggerated by the lord, it can aid in digestion, especially of rich foods. Which is why it is most often drank at large lunch meals on Easter and Christmas.
Are you ready to try this beverage yourself? Time to call us here at Ambassador Travel today!
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Happy September 14th everyone, or as us here on the Thirsty Thursday blog call it, National Creme de Menthe day! That’s right, today is a day to enjoy this minty drink, whether you prefer grasshoppers or sipping on the digestif on its own. But before we begin the celebration let’s learn a little bit more about the drink, and shockingly, unlike most of our alcohols featured on the Thirsty Thursday blog, it’s past is in no way disputed. Maybe it was just mint to be (ok i’ll stop).
Let’s travel all the way back to 1885 France. Here a young distribution pharmacist, Emile Gifford is hard at work learning the digestive effects of mint. Gifford starts to distribute his creation to patrons of the Grand Hotel in Angers and it so well receive it becomes something that is later mast distributed. Creme de Menthe is French for mint cream. It is made with dried peppermint or Corsican mint leaves soaking in grain alcohol for several weeks. It is filtered and sugar is added. The green color comes from the soaking of the leaves for several weeks. Today you can find it both with it’s original green color and a clear version, both taste similar.
Creme de Menthe can be served alone as a digestif or in mixed drinks like a grasshopper. It is used in cooking as well for things like mint chocolates. One fun fact about this beverage is that it is the traditional final alcoholic drink served to mobsters before going off to serve time in jail. So before you hit the big house get yourself a shot of Creme de Menthe. Now that you know the history, you can go out and enjoy National Creme de Menthe day!
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Now that fall is in full swing I have finally given in to my own urges and decided to write this week’s Thirsty Thursday blog on the drink that truly reigns in the fall season–Pumpkin Spice Latte, or PSL for the people in the know. Yes this over commercialized beverage has become a social media star and a true icon for our society and the millennial generation and you know why? Because even as much as I hate to admit it, this drink is delicious. I am a true pumpkin lover of course, who doesn’t love fall? But I wouldn’t write about this drink if I didn’t at least sample 1 or maybe several each fall season. So let’s learn a little bit more about it’s history and rise to the top.
PSL’s are a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, steamed milk, and espresso. Place in Starbucks cup and top with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice and you have just created one of the most iconic drinks ever poured into a cardboard cup. But where did this legendary beverage come from? It turns out Starbucks started developing this drink back in January of 2003. They were looking to expand their seasonal drinks and tested out a range of new flavors. Although their pumpkin spice mixture did not fall at the top of the list, they decided to stick with it because, at the time, there was nothing else on the market like it.
After several months of development they decided to test the final recipe (which by the way didn’t include any pumpkin) in the fall of 2003. Their test markets were Vancouver and Washington D.C. Because the drink exceeded they expectations, out performing their classic holiday drink like peppermint mocha and eggnog latte they decided to go full steam ahead (puns intended). From 2003-2015 their have been over 200 million PSLs sold, bringing in over $80 million a year. Their was a significant spike of 234% from 2008 until 2012 as popularity continued to grow. The latest change came to the drink just last year when after an outcry from the people Starbucks added actual pumpkin to their drink recipe.
So now you know a little bit about this famous, or rather infamous drink. I may be dreaming about one right now and can potentially see a Starbucks from my window, so now I will leave you to dream about them too.
Want to travel to the original Starbucks location in Seattle, Washington? Time to give us a call here at Ambassador Travel!
Ambassador Travel Ltd. | 920.236.7777| ambassadortravelltd.com