Now we know how the Scandinavians keep toasty warm on those Arctic winter nights.
House Spirits was founded by Christian Krogstad, who graduated from the Siebel Institute of Technology — America’s oldest brewing academy. He worked at west-coast craft breweries, then moved to a vineyard for a number of years before setting up his own gig with House Spirits in 2004. His history will tell you quite a lot about the character of his products. There is a strong, blue-collar brewmaster ethos going on in everything he does. Today, his Oregon distillery produces five signature spirits, including Aquavit, Vodka, Casa Magdalena Rum, Westward Whiskey, and a tasty coffee Liqueur.
If you are new to Aquavit — which means “water of life” — then think of it as being in the Gin family. It is a traditional drink in Scandinavia. Each distillery has its own recipe, so the ingredients and aging techniques vary greatly. But where Gin gets its primary flavor from juniper, Aquavit’s core botanical is caraway. Krogstad Aquavit from House Spirits is a grain-based spirit that also adds star anise. This simple, classic approach was awarded “Best Aquavit in the World” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
The first known written reference to Aquavit is in an official letter from a Danish Lord to the Archbishop of Norway in 1531. He sent a bottle and wrote, “I send your grace some water … which is called Aqua vite and the same water helps for all his illness that a man can have internally.”