Homemade Green Walnut Aquavit Recipe... Straight from the Old Country

Homemade Green Walnut Aquavit Recipe... Straight from the Old Country

In correspondence with Dennis Stensgaard of Spiced Spirits, we struck up a conversation about aquavit. This is a traditional Scandinavian spirit that in modern times is heavily flavored with carraway but over the centuries has had many different variations. It's potent liquor often served ice cold.

Stensgaard offers a recipe specifically from Denmark and specifically for August made from green walnuts. He describes this as making the "ultimate aquavit" and we can say that in all our discussions, we've never heard of a spirit precisely like this. While the official legal definition of aquavit involves carraway and other spices, this version has no additives of any kind except the walnuts. It sounds outstanding. Knowing that  many people like to experiment with making and infusing their own liquor, we offer this recipe for the daring Vikings-at-heart.

  • Pick the green walnuts (in August) while they can still be cut... cut these in quarters. Fill up a jar halfway with cut walnuts and top off with vodka (we suggest a good 80 - 100 proof vodka).
  • Rest and age. It's that easy. The rest is patience. But there's a little drama even here where Stensgaard suggests to "watch the interesting colour changes - from yellow to green, blue, brown, black, and then back to a very dark brown."
  • In December (some 4-6 months later), the spirit is ready for a "first filtering." But you're not done. Return the spirit to its container and let it rest some more... all the way to the following August (now 12 months later). Even though the walnuts are discarded after the first filtering, there are still some solids suspended in the liquor that will continue the process. After the second filtering, if desired, thin out the concentrated aquavit with more vodka.
  • In this way, you'll have a traditional, dark aquavit ready annually for your pleasure (assuming you have access to green walnuts).

    But hold on! Like scotch and bourbon, longer resting may improve the aquavit. Stensgaard says:

    My advice is to wait. My own walnut aquavit from 2009 is just beginning to be great now, in 2012. And some fans of this fantastic dram argue that you can't really call it a Green Walnut Aquavit until it has matured for 7 years! So the very best advice is to make a large portion, when your start - and make a large portion every year. I made two litres of concentrated green walnut the first year, and that is definately not overdoing it, because it really IS fantastic. And I need to have some 2009 batch left in 2016.

    Given that there are walnut trees nearby at Proof66 headquarters that frustrated homeowners leave as detritus on the street corner, we hope to have a follow-up series of articles on this subject as we attempt to perfect our own Green Walnut Aquavit.

    Published by Proof66.com