Norwegian Wood

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“Here, see if you can make me something with this”, the liquor rep taunted as he dropped a bottle of aquavit on the bar. If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I don’t really work that well under pressure. I try, but it literally takes me weeks to come up with a new drink that I’m happy with. Maybe I’m slow, maybe I’m a perfectionist, doesn’t matter: I hate it when I have to work under pressure.

So I was especially vexed when this particular wiseass handed me a bottle of aquavit. For those of you who don’t know, is a traditional Scandinavian liquor flavored with caraway and – typically – other herbs such as fennel and anise. It’s delicious, but it’s unique and isn’t known for its superb mixability.

However, I knew the liquor boob was insinuating that I might not be able to rise to the challenge, so I whipped this up (after about three false starts). A small handful of visitors to the bar at Clyde Common have suggested that it might be one of the best drinks I’ve come up with so far, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. I just think it tastes delicious.

Norwegian Wood Print Me

  • 1 oz/30 ml aquavit
  • 1 oz/30 ml applejack
  • ¾ oz/22.5 ml sweet vermouth
  • ¼ oz/7.5 ml yellow Chartreuse
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass.
  2. Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.
  3. Garnish with a large twist of lemon peel and serve.

Recipe printed courtesy of

38 Replies to “Norwegian Wood”

  • I’m using unaged aquavit because I think it brings more flavor to the party than the softer, oak-aged aquavits I’ve tried. But do play with it and report your findings back here!

  • napplegate says:

    is the name reference to the song by the beatles or the beautiful novel by murakami?

  • It’s a Beatles reference. Rubber Soul is one of my favorite of their albums, and Norwegian Wood is one of my favorite of their songs.

  • Charlton says:

    Okay, I’ve now tried a few variations of this, so I thought I’d report back on them. I’ve mixed and matched two aquavits, Skåne and Herr Gårds, and two vermouths, Martini & Rossi and Noilly Prat. My favorite combination is the Herr Gårds and M&R. I found the Skåne gets lost in the mix of flavors, but the Herr Gårds stands up better. Herr Gårds is an aged aquavit that uses O.P. Anderson as its base spirit and adds some additional flavorings, a touch of scotch, and ages in sherry casks. Tasty on its own and in this. I like the M&R better than the NP in this because it’s a little sweeter and I find this a very dry drink overall. My dad also enjoyed it, but my mom hated it. I’ll have to get my boat partners to give it a try next time we get together.

  • Brock says:

    My taste for Aquavit started with a cocktail at Beaker & Flask: The Norwegian Negroni using Aquavit instead of Gin and Cynar instead of Campari.

    I have yet to get it as good as they have.

  • Mike says:


    I *finally* find a drink recipe for Aquavit so that I can see if it’s a way to drink up the bottle that has been in my freezer for 15 years. What’s more, it contains Applejack, and I have the last half-inch of a small bottle in my liquor cabinet! Wait, since I enjoy Manhattans, I also have bitters and sweet vermouth in the house !!

    And now I have to find a store that sells Chartreuse . . .

  • Justin says:

    Did you do a barrel aged version of this about a year or so back? I feel like I may of had this when we visited Clyde Common early March 2011.
    I have been wanting to make this at home, but don’t have any aquavit. I will give it a shot with Brennivin my buddy brought me from Iceland.

  • Jay says:

    I know I’m 5 years late to this game. But I had to comment – found this today and it Is a terrific drink. The Aquavit for me is like Absinthe but more subtle. Very sophisticated and layer cocktail. The only thing I’m not so fond of is the name. So Mrs. Jay and I Will begin affectionately referring to this as the “AquaJack”

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