Aquavit, spelled Akvavit
, is a very potent Danish liquor
that is usually flavored with different types of spices, herbs, etc. The name aquavit comes from the Latin
"Aqua Vitae" meaning "water of life" (Reminds me of Dune
The smooth taste comes from the special slow heating process. Many of the different kinds of aquavit have their own specialized aging methods. The Norwegian Linie-Akvavit was traditionally aged as ballast in cargo ships. The ships had to pass the equator twice before the aquavit was considerd fit for consumption. Brands include Norwegian Løitens, Danish Aalborg or Aarhus and Swedish brands like Skåne, Reimersholm, Ödåkra, and Västgöta Sädes.
Aquavit is usually used to toast, or skoal, before a meal. It is usually served in a small cup that you lift with your pinky finger. I've seen my grandmother fall out of her chair many a time skoaling too much with aquavit.