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Everything you need to know about Aquavit

What is aquavit?

Aquavit or akvavit a distilled spirit, mainly produced in Scandinavia. Aquavit is distilled from grain or potatoes and flavoured by herbs. To be classified as an aquavit, the dominant flavour must come from a distillate of caraway or dill seed. The word aquavit derives from the Latin words aqua (water) and vita (life), translating to “the water of life”

What does aquavit taste like?

Traditional aquavits from Norway and Denmark in particular are usually quite heavily influenced by herbs and spices like caraway, fennel, and anise seeds, which makes them quite strong and spicy. Some would say this is an acquired taste, and that the caraway influence can be a bit overbearing. The fennel and anise seeds tend to enhance the sensation of caraway, and the trifecta tends to exaggerate the sensation of alcohol, giving it a “burning” sensation. This has lead to reviews like this one from the Norway Pavilion at Epcot in Florida:

“We asked one of the Norwegian cast members her opinion of Aquavit, and we were greeted with a wrinkled-up nose. I gotta tell ya, after sipping it, I’d agree with the summation. We decided that it tasted a whole lot like cough syrup…but licorice cough syrup, which is a little better than normal I guess. Regardless, a couple of sips were enough to confirm that this probably wasn’t something I needed to do again immediately.

Nuet Dry Aquavit is different, in that the fennel and the anise seeds have been replaced by fresher botanicals like grapefruit peel, blackcurrant and blackcurrant leaves, and the caraway (sourced from Inderøy, Norway) has been better balanced. The result is aquavit that takes the best from tradition and from modern thinking; smooth and fresh aquavit that works just as well neat as in a wide range of drinks. It is the world’s first super-premium aquavit, and that is also why the prestigious London Spirits Competition named the Nuet Dry Aquavit “…the world’s first aquavit that serves as a proper premium gin substitute” in 2020. A stark contrast to the review above.

Learn more about the caraway spice we use in Nuet Dry Aquavit in the blog post, A cornerstone of Aquavit.


How is aquavit made?

Aquavit is distilled from grain or potatoes. When it’s distilled, it is flavoured with herbs, spices, or fruit oil. Examples of flavours are; caraway, cardamom, lemon peel and fennel. Nuet Dry Aquavit is flavoured with grapefruit peel and blackcurrant leaves. Aquavit can be either barrel-aged or come straight from the distillery. The spirit is rarely produced outside of the Nordic countries, and in the few areas it is produced, it is often because of a large population with Scandinavian heritage. Although the production is quite similar, it is not as authentic as the real deal, with ingredients fresh from Scandic fields and forests.

Where do they drink aquavit?

We often call aquavit “quintessentially Scandinavian”. Russia has vodka, Japan has sake, Scotland has whiskey, and Scandinavia has aquavit. For 500 years, Scandinavians have celebrated valuable moments with aquavit. Aquavit is often seen accompanying feasts and banquets, celebrating Christmas, Easter, the Norwegian constitution day and other large celebrations. The spirit is traditionally almost exclusive to large meals, and drinking it without food is not very common. Again, this is where Nuet stands out from the rest. Nuet Dry Aquavit was created specifically to be used in cocktails, and recently became the first and only aquavit ever to win a gin award.

Read more about the history of aquavit in our blog post, 500 Years of Scandinavian Moments.

What is the alcohol content of aquavit?

In order for aquavit to be aquavit, it needs to have an ABV of at least 37.5%, and most are above 40%. Nuet Dry Aquavit is at 43% but is smooth and well-balanced so that it doesn’t have the burning sensation most traditional aquavits tend to have.

How many calories are there in aquavit?

Depending on the aquavit and its sugar content, it’s usually around 244 calories per 100 grams. Since the amount of spirits used in a drink is low (usually around 4cl for a normal drink), the amount of calories is also usually far lower than for the likes of a beer. The Nuet Dry Aquavit has no added sugar, as opposed to most other aquavits.

How can you use aquavit?

Aquavit has always been regarded as a strong and bitter spirit, often used for what Scandinavians call snaps, small shots of alcohol consumed during the course of a meal. It has also been enjoyed slowly, as a pure spirit, and never really in cocktails. This is where Nuet Dry Aquavit arrives on the arena, as a smooth and refreshing take on the traditional aquavit. Nuet Dry Aquavit is created just like other aquavits, to enhance the moments you enjoy, but in a far more versatile way. Nuet is perfect for cocktails and with tonic water. The fruity and citrusy aquavit is a perfect substitute to gin.

Can you buy aquavit in the US and UK?

Aquavit is growing in popularity in the US, but it’s still not easy to come by. You can purchase Nuet Dry Aquavit for US delivery from our webshop, though. Aquavit is more available in the UK, being sold by several distributors. If you want to buy Nuet Dry Aquavit in the UK you could buy it from our webshop, 31Dover, Master of Malt and the Whiskey Exchange. Our delivery times are usually is within 3 days. Please be advised that VAT and duties are not included in the price quoted in our webshop.

Why should I buy Nuet Dry Aquavit?

Nuet Dry Aquavit is the first-ever aquavit to win a gin award. You might ask yourself why this is a good thing. The answer is quite simple; it was just what we wanted. We wanted to innovate in the aquavit market and make an aquavit for everyone. This is a versatile aquavit you can use in cocktails just as well as for schnapps. By winning a gin award, we have proven that we are just what we want to be, a premium gin substitute. Exciting? You can buy your own Scandinavian moments in a bottle in our shop, and read more about the many use-cases in our drink-section.

“Nuet is the result of almost 500 years of Scandinavian tradition, combined with our passion for innovation and quality. It is the first and only aquavit to ever win a gin award, and we take pride in every bottle we produce.”

Moren Pharo Halle, founder of Nuet Aquavit

If you want to know more about Nuet Dry Aquavit, check out our about-section, and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit to join our Scandiverse.

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Nuet Aquavit Makes History

A World’s First

The winners of the Nordic Spirits Award were just announced, and for the first time ever an aquavit took one of the top spots in the gin category of an international spirits competition. Nuet Dry Aquavit got a silver medal in the
competitive gin category, and by doing so they wrote themselves into the history books. Founder Morten Pharo Halle is happy for the recognition, and says it’s all according to plan:

“We’ve spent an enormous amount of time and effort in developing the first aquavit ever to be enjoyed all-year round, all over the world, primarily in cocktails, as opposed to traditional aquavits that are mostly enjoyed neat at Christmas or midsommar. We really wanted to show the world what a great aquavit can be. When developing the Nuet Dry Aquavit, we had two litmus tests; it had to really shine both in a martini and with tonic, which of course are cocktails usually reserved for gin. Therefore it’s fantastic to be the first aquavit ever to get an award in the gin category, and with that make history.”

Startup with Global Ambitions

Nuet was founded in 2018 by Morten Pharo Halle from Oslo, Norway. The ambition was to take aquavit outside the Scandi borders, and out to the world. The small company spent most of 2019 what would become a whole
new type of spirit; the world’s first super-premium aquavit. More than a hundred test-distillings had to be done before the then two-person company had perfected the recipe. The recipe was developed by the company’s first
(and at that time only) employee, product developed Benjamin Lee, who is one of Norway’s best-known bartenders. He wanted to combine the best of almost 500 years of Scandinavian aquavit tradition with innovation, to create
a product unlike anything on the market. The reception has been fantastic so far, and the company has managed to grow despite the obvious challenges posed by Covid-19.

Morten Pharo Halle comments: “We’ve luckily always had very realistic expectations, despite the huge potential we see for Nuet long-term. This has meant we’ve been very well-suited to face such unforeseen challenges like the one Covid-19 has been. 2020 was a great year for us, and 2021 is shaping up to become even better. Our product is on the menu of everything from Michelin star restaurants to ski resorts, in classic cocktails, new creations and of course our
signature serve the Nuet Spritz, which has sold out wherever we have introduced it. We are looking to expand further into new markets globally, and we’re on track to accomplish our mission, which is to share Scandinavian moments with people all over the world, through the best aquavit products ever made.”

Benjamin Lee developing the fresh and fruity taste of Nuet Dry Aquavit.

A Great Award

Nuet Aquavit has a quite different approach when it comes to competitions and awards than many of their competitors. They rarely participate, and they rarely boast about awards they may receive. But this one’s different, as
Benjamin Lee explains:

“We notice that most companies win some sort of award for their products, so we see little point in shouting about it when we do as well. However, comments like the one we got from London Spirits Competition late 2020, where were
mentioned as “the world’s first aquavit that serves as a proper premium gin substitute”, are different. And writing history by being the first aquavit ever to get a top award in the gin category of an international spirits award is something
else. It really sets us apart. Promoting a product as unique as ours can be tricky at times, but being a pioneer is always tough. Getting the recognition we got from the Nordic Spirits Awards make us more motivated to keep pushing.

Nuet Aquavit is a modern take on the quintessentially Scandinavian aquavit, with almost five centuries of tradition. Bringing Scandinavian moments to you. Want to read more? Check out our blog at and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit to get instant updates on new posts!

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Three Cocktails to Make at Home

Nuet Dry Martini – The Classic

The Dry Martini, such a classic. With roots stretching all the way back to the late 1800s, this cocktail has become one of the most popular and recognizable in the world. When hearing about a martini, most people probably think of the mix of gin and vermouth. But what if we told you that you can make a martini with aquavit instead of a gin? Well, this is not the case for all aquavits, but with Nuet Dry Aquavit, the world’s first premium gin substitute you may enjoy a whole new experience with the drink you know all too well. Just mix six parts of Nuet Dry Aquavit with one part of your favourite dry vermouth, stir over ice and strain into a classic martini glass. Garnish with a grapefruit peel or an olive, and voilà. Now you have yourself an iconic cocktail, with a new twist. Definitively of our best homemade cocktails.

Check out the recipe here.

Nuet Lemonade – The Signature Serve

During the first half of 2020, we were trying to find the perfect Nuet cocktail, our signature serve. Our mission was simple; to find a cocktail that would be easily recognizable in bars and easy to make at home. We talked to loads of bartenders to find the perfect drink. But while bartenders in Oslo was experimenting, one of our creative directors, Martin discovered something delicious. With him to the mountains of Jotunheimen, he had brought a bottle of Nuet Dry Aquavit and a flask of lemonade. While enjoying an early summer sunset, Martin mixed the two delicious and flavourful liquids in a glass and had a sip. And now he was onto something. Right away, he sent a message in the work chat and recommend it. 

Soon everyone had to try it out, and we were all shocked by the result. With some more experimentation at home, we finally settled on the perfect mixing ratio. Simply pour one part Nuet Dry Aquavit and three parts premium lemonade as well as adding a slim grapefruit boat to add a citrusy touch. In addition to being as flavourful as it is, Nuet Lemonade was made in true Nuet spirit; outside, while enjoying the Scandinavian moment.

Make your own!

The Currant – The Complete

Did you know that Nuet Dry Aquavit is flavoured by grapefruit peel and blackcurrant? Blackcurrant is one of the world’s strongest berries. Being able to survive freezing temperatures during the winter and quickly readjust to increasing warmth in the spring, blackcurrant is a survivor worthy of culinary praise. The Currant brings you and your tastebuds into the wild Norwegian forests. Mixing 50ml Nuet Dry Aquavit, 1 teaspoon of blackcurrant jam, the juice of a lemon and 15ml of blackcurrant cordial, stirring and topping with a premium tonic. This will leave you with a fresh and delicious cocktail to enjoy from winter till summer till winter again. Garnishing with a sliced lemon wheel or a grapefruit to make a drink that emphasises on Nuet Dry Aquavit’s ingredients and completes the circle of raw materials.

Mix and enjoy!

Not your cup of tea? Check out the rest of our homemade cocktails section to find your favourite. Here at Nuet, we also run a blog where we publish frequent stories about Scandinavian culture, cuisine and more. Read our stories at and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit to see instant updates on new posts and drink recipes.

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The Making of a World’s First

Wrinkled-Up Noses

In order to see how Nuet went from a mere idea to what it is today, we need to take it all back to where it started. Back to the St. Hans area of Oslo, the capital of Norway, in the autumn of 2018. Founder Morten Pharo Halle had been thinking about aquavit for years. Thinking about the potential in this quintessentially Scandinavian spirit. After all, Scandis drink aquavit whenever there is something to celebrate. At Christmas and Easter, the crayfish parties and the midsommar celebrations in Sweden, and the Norwegian constitution day celebrations on May 17th, to mention a few occasions. But still, despite having a dear place in Scandinavians’ hearts, aquavit was nowhere to be found outside the Scandi borders. This review of a traditional aquavit brand from the Norway Pavilion at the Epcot World Showcase in Florida pretty much sums up why that is the case:

We asked one of the Norwegian cast members her opinion of Aquavit, and we were greeted with a wrinkled-up nose. I gotta tell ya, after sipping it, I’d agree with the summation. We decided that it tasted a whole lot like cough syrup…but liquorice cough syrup, which is a little better than normal I guess. Regardless, a couple of sips were enough to confirm that this probably wasn’t something I needed to do again immediately.”

Yes You Can

Reviews like the one above made sure aquavit remained a Scandinavian secret. An acquired taste, if you like. We wanted to do something about this, and really show the potential that lies within aquavit. You can make great aquavit. You can make an aquavit so great it can improve any usually gin-based drink. You can make the world’s first aquavit that serves as a proper premium gin substitute. This was an idea shared by Benjamin Lee, one of the best bartenders in Norway. So when Morten met him randomly at his bar that autumn of 2018 and told him about his plan to make the world’s best aquavit, Benjamin was instantly interested. So interested, he soon became Nuet’s first employee, responsible for the development of the recipe for the Nuet Dry Aquavit. And in January 2019 the development phase began.

Bravery and Innovation

Aquavit is actually a quite versatile and malleable product. Simply put, it’s potato spirits infused with herbs and spices. It’s not very different from gin in that way, and it’s usually distilled the same way also. Hence, the potential in aquavit is huge, though it would take both bravery and innovation to realize said potential. Benjamin wanted to combine the best of both tradition and innovation in order to create something truly unique. He started off by taking away traditional heavy herbs like fennel- and anise seeds, and replacing them with fresher botanicals like grapefruit peel, blackcurrant and blackcurrant leaves for more fresh, fruity, citrusy notes, far more suitable for drinks, as well as being far easier on the palate. The traditional caraway was toned down, and subtle notes of angelica seeds and cubeb pepper were added for complexity and a nice long smooth finish.

A Balancing Act

However, the real secret lies in the balance, in getting the combination of flavours just right. This took more than 100 test-distillings to perfect, but during the summer of 2019, the Nuet Dry Aquavit was ready. It had passed the two litmus tests set by Benjamin and Morten; it worked perfectly with tonic water, and it was excellent in a dry martini. These are two honest drinks where there is “nowhere to hide”, so it requires the best of products, and neither Benjamin nor Morten had ever tasted an aquavit that could pass both tests. Until now.

Handmade With Love in Oslo

It seems that everything is handmade these days. Nuet is no exception, though we, in all honesty, hope to be able to automate the bottling process one day. If we are to ever reach our mission of sharing Scandinavian moments with people all over the world, this is a necessity. However, for the time being, every single bottle of Nuet Dry Aquavit gets a lot of love and attention from the entire Nuet team. Because on bottling day it doesn’t matter what your position in the company is; everyone helps out. Bottles are washed, filled, labelled, corked and packed away, all by hand. It started out as an idea. An idea of taking something that puts a wrinkle on your nose and turning it into something that puts a smile on your face.

The end result is a product that is a world’s first; the world’s first aquavit that serves as a proper premium gin substitute.
Now that you have read all this we are certain you want to have a taste of Nuet Dry Aquavit, so why not check out our webshop or order one of our suppliers, like The Whiskey Exchange, Master of Malt and Vinmonopolet.

Here at Nuet, we publish weekly blog posts about everything Scandinavian. We also suggest reading our last story about Nuet Dry Aquavit here. Read more at and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit to get instant updates on new posts.  

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A Cornerstone of Aquavit

The Home of Scandinavian Caraway

In Trønderlag county, in the middle of Norway, we find a small peninsula covered in fields and forests, responsible for over two-thirds of Scandinavia’s caraway production. The peninsula is Inderøy, where around 15 farms are producing tonnes upon tonnes with caraway every year. From Inderøy, the caraway is bound for spice makers, tea manufacturers and aquavit distilleries all across Scandinavia. One of the farms harvesting and selling caraway to the nordic market is Inderøy Karve. The small family-owned company has been in business for decades and delivers the spice to the majority of Norwegian aquavit distilleries, among others, Nuet Aquavit.

Small Margins

The production of caraway is more challenging than many other spices. The plant is harvested annually, mainly in late July or early August. It is only a matter of a few days where the spice is ready for harvest, after that the quality may shrink dramatically. Therefore, caraway farmers have to check their crops daily to see if it is ready to be harvested and then start the process right away. The caraway plants are also prone to temperature changes, air moisture, rain, winds and insects. With so many factors influencing the production, a good harvest may be ten times as large as a bad harvest.

To get the most out of the flavour, the processing must be precise. After the harvest, the caraway has to dry in a barn for four to seven days with continous oversught. This is done so the harsh oils evaporate and leave the spice with its rich flavour. When it has dried the caraway is partitioned into bags of 25kg each ready for the market.

A Swinging Demand

Although the story of caraway goes back 5000 years, it did not become widespread in Norway before the 1800s. For a long time, caraway export was a thriving industry. But around the mid 20th century, other crops became cheaper to produce and the nationwide production almost came to a halt. For decades the industry struggled with low demand. But in the early 90’s the interest for the crop grew, and so did the production. In 1994 Inderøy Karve was established and they kickstarted the spice production on the small peninsula where we now see the epicentre of nordic caraway production.

Interesting read? Then consider reading our blog post about the story of aquavit, 500 Years of Scandinavian Moments. Here at Nuet, we publish weekly blog posts about everything Scandinavian. Read our posts at and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit to get instant updates on new post straight to your feed!

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The Story Behind Nuet Aquavit

An Acquired Taste

For years and years Nuet Aquavit founder Morten Pharo Halle from Oslo, Norway had a recurring discussion with his mates when they met up for a drink: What an underappreciated product aquavit really is. This quintessentially Scandinavian product with almost 5 centuries of history is a staple during celebrations like the Christmas dinner, midsummer, the 17th of May celebrations and the crayfish parties in the autumn. For us Scandinavians, aquavit has a special place in our hearts, though many will admit they enjoy it with gritted teeth. And here lies the issue with traditional aquavit; it’s an acquired taste. The heavy influence of spices like caraway, fennel and anise seeds makes it quite strong, and the scope of use quite limited. What if someone combined the best of tradition and innovation to make an aquavit that was clearly an aquavit in its right sense, but was also fresh and smooth, and suitable to enjoy all-year-round by people all over the world, in a whole array of drinks? After all, aquavit is made the same way as gin, only with even more room to play around with different flavours.

Less Talk, More Action

Late 2018 Morten decided it was time to stop talking about the potential of aquavit, and actually show it. By coincidence he met Benjamin Lee, one of Norway’s most renowned bartenders and bar owners, and they started discussing the idea of creating the world’s best aquavit. Shortly after, Nuet Aquavit was founded, and by early 2019 Benjamin had started the development process. Even before doing the first test distillation, Benjamin had most of the recipe ready in his head. The heavy spices of fennel and anise seeds of traditional aquavits were to be replaced with grapefruit peel and blackcurrant for freshness, citrus and viscosity, whilst the traditional caraway was going to remain, honouring tradition. The combination would prove fantastic, as it gave the aquavit a smoothness and freshness not seen in aquavits before, whilst still being clearly an aquavit with a subtle caraway influence. Another 6 months and more than 100 test distillations were spent getting the balance perfectly right, and by the summer of 2019 the Nuet 7.1.1. was created, now known as the Nuet Dry Aquavit.

Like Gin, Only Better

Whilst developing the Nuet Dry Aquavit, Benjamin and Morten only had two criteria that needed to be met: It had to work perfectly with tonic water, and it needed to really shine as a martini drink. These are two drinks in which there is no place to hide, and so they really only work the very best of gins. Or, as in this case, the very best aquavit. Neither Benjamin nor Morten had ever come across an aquavit that would pass these two litmus tests, so if they managed to be the first to do so, they would be sure to have a truly unique product; the world’s first aquavit to serve as a proper substitute to premium gin. By the summer of 2019, both tests were passed with flying colours, and people can now judge for themselves, by making their own Nuet & tonics, and Nuet dry martinis.

Handmade in Oslo

Distillation of Nuet Dry Aquavit is done at the great OHD facilities in Oslo, Norway. Carefully sourced botanicals are steeped for 24 hours then distilled in a copper pot still. Additionally, we use a vapour basket for added botanical extraction, and to maximise the delicate botanical notes. We distil low and slow to get the most out of our ingredients. The aquavit is then rested for a month before it’s ready to spread Scandinavian moments around the world. Like traditional aquavit, the base spirit is made of Norwegian potatoes, and the traditional caraway is sourced from beautiful Inderøy in the north of Norway. At the moment the entire process of bottling, with cleaning, filling, labelling, corking and packing, is done by hand, with the help of friends and other volunteers.

Scandinavian Moments For All

At the heart of our brand is a desire to live in the moment. “Nuet” means “the now” in Scandinavian, and we want people all over the world to appreciate those small moments in everyday life, as well as the grand occasions. Being “in the now” is a central part of Scandinavian heritage, and could be a key reason for why the Scandinavian countries consistently rank among the top in the world in terms of happiness, as research has shown that mindfulness and gratefulness is key to our mental health. We are now able to bring a tiny piece of Scandinavian living to people across the world, as Nuet has now become the first Norwegian company ever to sell spirits online, through our very own webshop. In Norway, it’s readily available at Vinmonopolet’s website, and the same goes for Systembolaget in Sweden. You can also order from online retailers like Master of Malt and Whisky Exchange.

Nuet Aquavit is a Norwegian aquavit brand.

Interesting read? Then we suggest reading our blog post on the history of aquavit, 500 Years of Scandinavian Moments. Here at Nuet, we strive to share the moments and the stories from the great Scandinavian region. We publish weekly blog posts about Scandinavian cuisine, culture, and people. Read our stories at and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit for instant updates on new posts straight to your feed.