What is the difference between snaps and Akvavit?

Answered by Andrew Fritz

The terms “snaps” and “aquavit” are often used interchangeably to refer to herb-flavored that are traditionally enjoyed in small shot . However, there is a subtle difference between the two.

Aquavit is a specific type of spirit that originated in Scandinavia, particularly in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. It is commonly made from a base of grain or potatoes and is flavored with a variety of botanicals, most notably dill or cumin seeds. These seeds impart a distinct flavor to the aquavit, giving it a unique character.

On the other hand, snaps is a more general term used to describe any type of herb-flavored spirit, including aquavit. While aquavit must be flavored with dill or cumin seeds to be considered authentic, snaps can be flavored with a wider range of herbs and spices. Caraway, anise, fennel, and citrus are some of the common flavorings used in snaps.

The use of different flavorings in snaps allows for greater variation and experimentation, resulting in a broader range of taste profiles. This flexibility in flavoring sets snaps apart from traditional aquavit, which is typically associated with the distinct flavors of dill or cumin.

In terms of consumption, both snaps and aquavit are traditionally enjoyed as digestifs or as accompaniments to meals, particularly during festive occasions and gatherings. They are typically served in small shot glasses and consumed in a single gulp, often accompanied by traditional Scandinavian food such as pickled herring, smoked salmon, or bread.

Having personally experienced the joy of tasting both snaps and aquavit during my travels in Scandinavia, I can attest to the rich cultural significance and enjoyment associated with these spirits. Each sip carries a sense of tradition and history, connecting the drinker to the Nordic heritage and its culinary traditions.

The main difference between snaps and aquavit lies in the specific flavorings used. Aquavit must be flavored with dill or cumin seeds, while snaps can be flavored with a wider variety of herbs and spices. Both spirits are enjoyed in small shot glasses and are an integral part of Scandinavian culture, offering a unique and flavorful drinking experience.