Three Specialty Aquavits — Midsommar, Vår and Vinter — Launched for Home Mixologists

(June 2020) — Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant has announced its introduction of three new varieties of Stabbur Aquavit Spice Mixes that allow home bartenders, mixologists and other non-professional drink makers to create their own specialty aquavit at home with a minimum of fuss.

The three new spice mixes — Midsommar, Vår and Vinter — are sold in a custom 375 ml bottle that also serves as the container for storing new batches of freshly-made aquavit. The directions, provided on an accompanying hang tag, are brief and specific: “In a separate jar, empty spice mix from bottle and add 375 ml of your favorite vodka. Let mixture steep for three days, strain through a sieve back into bottle and serve cold while singing Helan Går (the Swedish drinking song) with a friend.”

The new aquavit spice mixes – featuring a retail price of $9.95 for each version – were created when Stabbur at Al Johnson’s, the Scandinavian beer garden in Sister Bay, was hosting a Wisconsin Public Radio-sponsored Kraftskiva in August 2018. Kraftskiva is an annual late summer celebration that features a summer buffet of fresh boiled crawfish, salads and side dishes, and generally includes liberal quantities of beer and aquavit. Stabbur’s manager, Bryn Buselmeier, wanted to make a special, customer aquavit for the occasion, after seeing a basic recipe on a Swedish website. After experimentation, Buselmeier created an aquavit with a traditional flavor profile and also added orange zest, which reminded imbibers of the taste of Al Johnson’s famous Limpa Bread. The new aquavit blend was a hit at Kraftskiva and was ultimately recreated as Stabbur Midsommar Aquavit Spice Mix for the new line of mixes.

Buselmeier continued to experiment with spice mixes later that year and devised both the Vår (Swedish for “spring”) and Vinter (Swedish for “winter”) Aquavit Spice Mixes. The Vår spice blend has light notes of aniseed, fennel, and caraway, embodying the feel of snow finally melting and Spring erupting in one’s senses. The Vinter spice blend adds Allspice, shaping a warmer sensory blend that complements festive winter holidays.

The Stabbur Aquavit Spice Mix packaging features an eye-catching label with a Viking Rune design. Aquavit blends are popular in Sweden at any time of the year, but Al Johnson’s wanted to incorporate calendar dates and seasons that are widely beloved by Scandinavians, especially those times when families enjoy annual festivities.

The new Stabbur Aquavit Spice Mixes provide a fun, inexpensive gift idea. If you happen to be visiting Door County this summer, note that Stabbur at Al Johnson’s will be featuring the new Midsommar Aquavit on its Drinks Menu — Skol!

From Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik, 10698 N. Bay Shore Drive, Sister Bay, WI 54234; 920.854.2626;