Aquavit, an unusual choice? Too risky a spirit for a craft distiller?
Not really… Make what you love and you will succeed!
While recently traveling and visiting Scandinavian countries, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, not only did I absolutely fall in love with the cities, the people and the food, but also the spirit of their spirits!
I was first introduced to Aquavit in Norway and instantly fell in love! Murray’s Fools Distilling Co. had only developed one product at the time and it was still going to be three products and two years later until I was finally able to create my very own spirit, Osprey Aquavit.
My recipe was definitely not a random spontaneous combination, I did some deep research on traditional and modern recipes and the entire production processes.
I created three individual ‘recipes’ and using my petite copper pot still, I began my experiments! So much fun! They were all very different, with distinct flavors; however all used the traditional caraway and dill base. I was very happy with the results!
To select a final recipe, I brought together a discreet focus group of bartenders, gourmet chefs, Scandinavians, foodies and a couple that had never even tried Aquavit! So much fun! We ate Scandinavian foods, shared stories, and sampled recipes. It was still serious business however, everyone recorded their tasting notes and scores without interacting with each other and the result…all but one person voted for the same recipe! They all also provided some much needed and valued feedback on how they might like to see the spirit enhanced.
Now that I had my recipe I was ready to roll in the big mama stills!
As a traditional celebratory drink, this spirit needed the perfect name. We were inspired by Terrace Lodge, a camp W.H.H. Murray had owned on Osprey Island in Raquette Lake, NY. A camp where, on a regular basis, Murray celebrated the joys of the natural world with friends and family. And so it was, our new spirit was labeled Osprey Aquavit.
This spirit is typically served on special occasions, chilled in very small Aquavit glass, however I have found it makes an amazing Danish Mary (or Danish Murray we like to call it) and a fabulous Negroni!
It is a wonderful feeling to create something you love and enjoy and have the opportunity share it with those who also appreciate fine spirits. I am so proud to see this product on liquor store shelves and hear the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ of those who try it.
Co-founder of Murray's Fools Distilling Co. | Altona, NY