Drinks News

An Australian aquavit hits the market

A local duo goes where few Australian distillers have ventured before, channelling Scandinavia’s drinking culture and putting a spin on aquavit.

By Matty Hirsch
Stockholm Syndrome aquavit

From gin steeped in shiraz cuttings to single-cask rum and oat whisky, the nation's 120-odd distilleries have tackled almost all corners of the back bar. Now, Sydney bar and soda factory PS40 has teamed up with Never Never Distilling Co. in the Adelaide Hills to tackle one of the last frontiers in the local liquor landscape, producing an aquavit called Stockholm Syndrome.

A netural spirit from Scandinavia, stilled from grains or potatoes and most commonly flavoured with caraway and other spices, botanicals and citrus peel, aquavit production dates back to the 15th century.

"Think of it as a Nordic cousin to gin," says PS40 owner Michael Chiem.

Until now, Western Australia's Sin Gin distillery has been the only aquavit producer on Australian shores, but Chiem believes there's room on the shelf for more.

"That combination of bright, savoury and anise flavours makes it an excellent cocktail ingredient and mixer," he says.

Named after a cumin and dill-infused aquavit cocktail that featured on PS40's opening list in 2016, Stockholm Syndrome takes a neutral wheat spirit and adds the familiar trio of fennel, dill and caraway, before introducing cinnamon myrtle, macadamia and strawberry gum for a native Australian touch.

The new spirit will be launched next week at PS40, along with Outback Viking, a limited-release soda spiked with cumin seeds, apple cider vinegar and lemon zest designed to complement the new creation. Expect the return of the original Stockholm Syndrome cocktail and a list of other refreshers including a sweet vermouth, burnt honey and stinging nettle number. And there'll be a few masseuses on hand, too.

"Just to make sure everyone is sufficiently relaxed," says Chiem.

Amuse Boosh, 3pm-6pm, 18 September. PS40, 2/40 King St, Sydney, NSW, ps-soda.com

PS40 x Never Never Distlling Co. Australian Aquavit, $75 for 500ml, neverneverdistilling.com.au