Salmiakki Koskenkorva is a derivative of the popular Finnish spirit, Koskenkorva, produced by dissolving strong salted licorice (salmiakki in Finnish) into the clear 38% vol. (76 proof) liquor, making a sweet drink and disguising the raw alcohol flavor. The brand name is owned by Primalco Ltd. Salmiakki Koskenkorva, also known as "Salmiakkikossu" or "salmari" in Finland, was introduced in the early 1990s and soon became a huge success - in the beginning of March 1993 it reached the weekly sales of 50 000 bottles.
"Salmari" was especially popular among teenagers, which was the main reason its sales were almost instantly prohibited by the Finnish parliament. People were forced to brew home-made Salmiakki Koskenkorva until the prohibition was lifted in 1995. The drink is still very popular in Finland, especially in restaurants as a 4 cl shot. Several competing products have also surfaced in Scandinavia and one in Netherlands.
Here's how to make your own Salmiakki Koskenkorva:
Warm a small amount of water in a kettle and add a sufficient amount of crushed salted licorice candies (I prefer Tyrkisk Peber for their hot taste). Take the kettle from heat to
avoid burning your mixture and stir for a few minutes or until most of the candies are dissolved into a thick black solution. Let the stuff cool for a while and pour it into a bottle with the Koskenkorva liquor (any unflavored vodka will do in case you Koskenkorva supplies are running short). Shake the bottle to distribute the salmiakki evenly in the liquid and you're done. You can experiment with the amount of candies to produce drinks of different flavor and thickness. Hint: Very thick
Salmiakkikossu can be used as an excellent ice cream topping.
Sources of information:
Aktivist: Helsinki in English from A to Z:
Vammala High School Third Grade Annual Chronicle of 1993: