If you haven’t had a glass of Iceland’s original spirit, Brennivin, you should definitely give it a try! You can now find this strong, inviting drink in bars and liquor stores all over the US and Canada.
Just ask the Booze Traveler himself, Jack Maxwell; during the Iceland-themed episode of “Booze Traveler,” which airs December 22, 2014 at 10 PM on the Travel Channel, he experienced Brennivin just as any Iceland native would. Stateside, Maxwell also gave a taste to NY Daily News’ Justin Rocket Silverman at a New York City bar inspired by Iceland, SKÁL. Though Brennivin is traditionally enjoyed with snacks like whale blubber and rotten shark, these men simply savored their glass; the best way to serve it is either extremely chilled or on the rocks. Maxwell emphasized the strong scent and flavor of caraway, meant to mask the bold tastes of the snacks it typically accompanies.
Jacob Grier, founder of AquavitWeek, says Brennivin is “the stuff of legend.” With its bold label and strong flavors, it deserves that title; its assertiveness might be what earned Brennivin a spot in Conde Nast Traveler’s “10 International Liquors to Try in 2015.”
This drink, which translates into “Black Death,” has even become a staple in the music industry. The Foo Fighters hit “Skin & Bones” mentions Brennivin in its lyrics (“Brennivin and cigarettes”), and during a concert in Seattle on November 28, 2014, frontman Dave Grohl sported a Brennivin T-shirt.
Culturally for Iceland, this drink is a star, especially on St. Thorlac’s Day, a day that celebrates the Patron Saint of Iceland (December 23).
Brennivin can now be enjoyed in multiple bars and purchased in liquor stores in North America. You can find a list of the liquor stores and bars that offer it here.
Looking for Brennivin merchandise? Visit their online shop for everytthing from posters to T-shirts!
Cheers! (Or better yet… Skál!)