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FOOD + DRINK
Birkir Snaps + Björk Liqueur
Imbibe in the power of Icelandic birch with these two smooth spirits
by Graham Hiemstra
on 15 June 2012
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Created by the co-owners of Reykjavik's renowned Dill restaurant, Björk liqueur and Birkir snaps boast a uniquely smooth, earthy flavor thanks to the Icelandic duo's clever use of indigenous flora. During spring, sommelier Ólafur Örn Ólafsson and chef Gunnar Karl Gíslason gather felled birch limbs from the half-century-old forest at the foot of the Haukafell Mountain, and infuse the branches' natural aroma into the spirits at their Foss Distillery. Known for its rejuvenating qualities, birch—even in its potable form—is also believed to benefit skin and hair, and stimulate your libido.

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The honey coloring, sweet taste and subtle nose provide a novel alternative for casual sipping and mixed drinks. Traditionally enjoyed as a shot during meals, the refreshing Birkir snaps is defined by robust floral flavor reminiscent of pine trees. On the other hand, the slightly lighter Björk liqueur trades in a bit of its birch flavor for more sugar. This rich liqueur is best served in cocktail form to compliment the rich sweetness. Ólafsson explains on their website, “I wanted to capture the sensation of the bright Icelandic summer night at the moment when the rainshower clears and the morning dew sets on the birch clad hill.”

The tall, slender bottles fit into the arboreal theme with a rustic, leaf-adorned label and a birch branch floating in the caramel-colored liquor within. Due to strict alcohol distribution regulations in Iceland all Foss Distillery spirits are only available domestically through local bars or at the Keflavik Airport Duty Free.

Images by Karen Day and Graham Hiemstra

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