DIY Aquavit Recipe

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.

Recipe Facts

Active: 10 mins
Total: 336 hrs
Makes: 1 cup

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  • 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. 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. 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.

Special equipment

Fine-mesh strainer, cheesecloth

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