DIY Aquavit

[Photograph: Marcia Simmons]

Aquavit is a Scandinavian spirit that dates back to the 1500s. Much like gin, it's a neutral spirit flavored with botanicals—only caraway seed is the primary flavoring instead of juniper berries. Use aquavit instead of vodka in a cocktail recipe to add a bold and savory kick.

Note: Be sure to sample as you go to see if it's reached your ideal flavor. If you prefer an intense aquavit, let the spices steep for a longer amount of time—up to two weeks. Orange zest can be used in place of lemon, if desired.

About the Author: Marcia Simmons is the author of DIY Cocktails: A Simple Guide to Creating Your Own Signature Drinks. She also shares cocktail recipes and tips on the DIY Cocktails blog and on Twitter @DIYCocktails.

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!

DIY Aquavit

About This Recipe

Yield:Makes about 1 cup
Active time:10 minutes
Total time:About 2 weeks
Special equipment:Fine-mesh strainer, cheesecloth
This recipe appears in: DIY vs. Buy: How to Make Aquavit


  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 sprig fresh dill
  • One (2-inch) strip of lemon zest, without pith
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 pod star anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed


  1. 1

    Put the vodka, dill, and lemon zest in a sealable glass jar. Seal and shake, then let steep at room temperature for one day. Remove and discard the lemon zest and dill.

  2. 2

    Add the caraway seeds, star anise, and fennel seed to the infused vodka. Let steep at room temperature for an additional 2 days. If you'd like a stronger flavor, continue to steep for up to two weeks. When desired flavor is achieved, strain through cheesecloth. Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

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