The Scandis have already taught the world the art of hygge, but now they’re here with the ultimate buzzword to get us through lockdown 2.0: friluftsliv. In case you’re not familiar with the recently trending philosophy, friluftsliv is the Danish idea of enjoying time outdoors whatever the weather. Pronounced free-loofts-liv, the concept loosely translates as “open-air living”, and is all about unwinding in nature come rain or shine. Think togging up for winter picnics, meeting friends for al fresco coffee dates, and squeezing in a little hike on weekends or lunch breaks. Taking solace in the great outdoors, a practice which is second nature in Denmark, couldn’t be more perfect for surviving lockdown this winter.
Of course, a stormy hike in November is made infinitely more appetising with a stiff drink to warm you afterwards. With pub walks off the cards for the next few weeks, we’re taking inspiration from Curfew, one of Copenhagen’s best known cocktail bars. Owner and head mixologist Humberto Marques has devised a Danish twist on the classic hot toddy that can be put in a flask and enjoyed at leisure on your ramble.
The star ingredient is aquavit, a caraway or dill infused spirit native to Scandinavia. Gin fans will find a whole new world of botanicals opened up to them, with the spirit’s Scandinavian cousin enjoying something of a renaissance in recent years. The Whisky Exchange recommends starting off your collection with Svol Swedish Style Aquavit or a sherry cask aged Bareksten Aquavit from Norway.
“Aquavit was once believed to have healing powers. The infused herbs and spices warm all of your senses, so it was the perfect ingredient for our version of a hot toddy,” says Humberto. With even shorter days and more miserable weather than the UK, the Danes know a thing or two about keeping spirits up in bleak conditions. “When lockdown pulls you under, this hot toddy will give you the perfect kick, to break the surface and breathe again.” We’ll drink to that. Skål!
Aquavit Hot Toddy
Ingredients (serves 1; quadruple the recipe to make enough for a small flask):
20ml Grand Marnier
50ml piping hot liquorice tea
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 sprigs pine leaves to infuse (optional)
For extra flourish, garnish with a cinnamon stick, sprig of pine leaves, or perhaps a pinecone you’ve gathered on your walk.
- First, take a liquorice teabag and infuse with a mugful of boiling water for at least 3-4 minutes.
- In your flask, measure out your hot liquorice tea and stir in the honey until it’s fully dissolved.
- Stir in the aquavit, Grand Marnier and lemon juice.
- Add 2 sprigs of pine leaves to the flask to infuse and put the lid on immediately until you’re ready to drink.
- If you’re out in the wilderness, serve in camping cups, decorating each with an extra pine sprig. If you’re at home, serve in a teacup.
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