Food & Drink Dec 17, 2014

A Guide to Icelandic Wine and Spirits

Saveur features four Icelandic beverages and highlights their unique flavors.

Saveur recently published several stories on all kinds of Icelandic food and drinks. The magazine called Icelandic spirits strong and distinct, and featured four particularly popular and delicious optoins available in the US.


Brennivin, an aquavait that resembles unsweetend schnappss flavored with caraway and angelica, is a signature Icelandic drink and a symbol of Iceland itself. The legal beginnings of this distinctive spirit were in 1935, when prohibition was partially lifted on the island. A black label was chosen to be unappealing and limit the demand. However, it had the opposite effect. Brennivin is now available in several stores in the U.S. and Canada!

Martin Miller’s Gin 

This citrusy gin is great for use in cocktails. A new liqueur, Martin Miller’s Gin is distilled with Icelandic water, where rain and glacial waters collect 30 meters below the earth’s surface within volcanic aquifers. Martin Miller uses this pure water, untouched, to distill its gin. Saveur writes: “When the distillate is mixed in, the surface tension holds the alcoholic bouquet and burn in check, resulting in a mellow gin.”

Foss Distillery‘s Björk & Birkir 

Made in the same place where Martin Miller’s is bottled, both are the creations of chef Gunnar Karl Gíslason and sommelier Olafur Orn Olafsson of Reykjavik’s highly acclaimed Dill restaurant. Made from grain and infused with birch, Saveur describes Birkir as having a tealike flavor and subltle malty sweetness. There’s also a birch branch in the bottle for an aesthetic wow-factor! Björk also features birch elements and has a root beer-liike flavor, according to Saveur. Order 

Thirsty for more? Try making your very own Icelandic cocktail with the Saveur recipe below!

Viking Martini

Combine gin, amaro, liqueur and bitters in an ice-filled shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass; squeeze lemon over the top and drop it into the drink. Skál!