The Benefits of Aquavit

Aquavit benefits

“An apple a day,” or so they say. We’ve all heard old adages and hearsay about health benefits relating to the random things we eat, or even drink. I’ve heard people swear by a “glass a day” of redwine too. A lot of these have been passed down generation after generation, and while some could be hard truths, others could be easily debunked, or they have been with advances in research and technology. Needless to say, there could be truth lurking within the obscurities of old phrases, because we could’ve once passed them as remedies. Although there’s many examples of this throughout history, we will explore aquavit and all of its potential benefits.

The Water of Life

This Scandinavian spirit’s name translates to “The Water of Life.” It’s been around since the 15th century and it shares a rich history within Norwegian roots. If we break it down to straight meat and potatoes, aquavit is made from grain and, well.. potatoes. Back in the day, monks made this as a medicine, composed of “secret” botanical blends. Nowadays, we’ve discovered their recipes and refined them into what we know today as aquavit. It’s produced very similarly to gin and vodka; the key difference is the infusion of herbs and botanicals. So, why the name? This liquor was believed to ward off disease and old age. In fact, this spirit was prescribed as medicine during the Black Death. Imagine being told by your doctor to drink in today’s time, right? There’s even stories of aquavit bringing the dead back to life. We can’t verify this obviously, but hey, that’s the “spirit” of this article (you were supposed to laugh).

If we explore this alcohol’s origins, we could generally say that aquavit was originally produced as a medicine of sorts. Strangely enough, the liquor was popular to treat and prevent alcoholism in those nordic regions. That doesn’t mean you have to clear the shelves of your local liquor store for aquavit, so please keep drinking responsibly.

Digestion benefits?

You could find the drink on the tables of Scandinavians today as their populous drinks the drink as a tool to stimulate digestion and absorb fatty foods! This belief has since spread worldwide, but is it true? In short, yes. Aquavit contains herbs, spices, and botanicals that aid in digestion. Fennel, cardamom, and caraway are very common ingredients in this liquor that are all gut healthy!


This was no typo or mistake. In fact, you might want to know this fancy little word if you’re looking for a reason to drink after a big meal. It’s simply a name for an after dinner alcoholic beverage to improve digestion. It’s a common practice to soothe your stomach after indulging in a big meal, and aquavit is a common drink for it! This is something to keep in mind if you’re hosting guests to give them a little time to unwind after dinner. If you own a business and serve alcohol, maybe consider having your staff pitch this after your guests are done eating; it could encourage them to order more courses (perhaps desserts). Meanwhile, it’ll drive up your liquor sales. Any way you spin it, it sounds like a win-win situation to me!


We’ve established that you could drink aquavit after eating, so what about an excuse to enjoy this Scandinavian spirit before? Well, here’s some jargon to help you pregame prior to smashing that steak. Aperitif is the name for an alcoholic drink served ahead of a meal. The rationale behind this is to stimulate both your palate for the upcoming food, and a person’s appetite. These liquors are usually served dry instead of sweet.

There’s a handful of liquors that are used as Aperitif drinks such as dry vermouth, white wine, and champagne. You could sip them straight, combined with sodas, or even mix into a cocktail. The commonality they all generally share is that they include bitters and herbs, and are usually low in sugar as you want them to stimulate appetites.

Aquavit is commonly found as an aperitif in Scandinavia, and is usually served at special events like Christmas, weddings, birthdays, or celebrations rather than as an everyday drink. Each of these countries serve the drink pretty differently however. Sweden, Germany, and Demnark love a chilled shot glass of aquavit, while Norway serves theirs at room temperature in a specially designed tulip-shaped glass. Keep this in mind if you’re a spirit buff and want the most authentic experience possible!


When consumed responsibly, aquavit could have health benefits. It’s not to say that it stems solely from the alcoholic parts of it, but rather the herbs and botanicals within. The liquor has a rich history with its origins as a medicine to fight old age. In present times, you could not only enjoy this alcohol at a bar, but even after meals for that upset stomach. I’d say to just give it a try!


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    January 25, 2023

    […] might not hear much about aquavit, and even professional bartenders will tell you it’s not a typical request on a Saturday night. […]

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