IKEA Snaps


Did you know that IKEA sells booze? Interesting booze in tiny bottles, no less? I had no idea, but stumbled upon it on my last trip there and felt duty bound to bring some home to try.

 

Before I even opened the packet to taste the snaps, I was smitten by the sweet labels with their hand-drawn aesthetic, and the way the little bottles were arranged by colour. Then I had a look at the flavours, and was fascinated by the idea of a liqueur flavoured with caraway, anise and fennel, or St John’s Wort. I simply had to have them.

I armed myself with plenty of ice, soda water, lemonade and mint leaves. I purloined one of the G man’s fancy whisky glasses, one that sort of rocks about when you put it down. I must say that I think this is poor design for a glass intended to hold an alcoholic beverage, but there you go. Perhaps it is a test; if you can’t put it down without spilling it, you’ve had enough.

I worked through the liqueurs in alphabetical order, because you have to have a system. I poured about half of each bottle over a big ice cube, put in some lightly crushed mint leaves and then topped it up with whichever mixer seemed appropriate. For the most part this was lemonade, but I tried soda with the first one, which was simply called Abrodd – the translation was ‘vodka with a Swedish southernwood flavour’.

 

Now that I come to do some research, I find that southernwood is a relative of wormwood, which as we all know is the ingredient in absinthe that makes you see little green fairies, at best… I found no such after effects, I’m a little sad to report. Southernwood also seems to have many medicinal applications, which makes me feel quite good about buying and drinking more of it. It was a little bitter, and smelled very potent indeed, but tasted lighter than the aroma suggested. It was much like drinking vodka and soda, really, with a little aromatic edge.

Next up was the caraway, anise and fennel ‘aquavit’. I thought that kummin would translate as cumin, but there I was wrong. I’m not really disappointed by that, much as I enjoy cumin as a spice I don’t know that I want it in my whisky glass.

 

 

I found this drink very aromatic, as you might expect, but again a little bitter as I initially used soda to mix it. I enjoyed it more once I added a splash of lemonade, but it didn’t set my world on fire. I did enjoy trying to take photos of the bubbles in my drinks, though, albeit without a great level of success. I think this liqueur benefitted more from the sprig of mint that the southernwood one had, the flavours being more complimentary.

 

Next was the other ‘aquavit’: caraway, dill and citrus. I went straight for the lemonade for this one, deciding to play up the citrus.

 

 

 

 

Funnily enough, this was the one drink I didn’t enjoy or indeed finish. It was too strong in herbal flavours that even the lemonade couldn’t balance out. It is probably intended as a digestif, and those herbs are good for you, but I’ve never been a fan of any herb-based digestifs. I’ll stick to peppermint tea (if there isn’t any limoncello on the go, that is).

The next on the list was the bittersot ortsnaps – or ‘vodka with herbal flavour’ to you and I.

 

 

 

You may not have noticed, but these photos were taken in the fridge. It was the brightest place in the house, it made sense. Possibly the three glasses of snaps assisted with this making sense.

I was concerned about it being simply ‘herbal flavour’ because I hadn’t really enjoyed the last drink, but I didn’t want to mess with the system now that I’d begun so I ploughed on. I really liked the rich colour of this one, and the flavour was not as strong or herby as I’d feared. It was much sweeter too – some of the snaps didn’t contain any sugar, but this one had it listed as the second ingredient. The herbs will remain a mystery, having been listed only as ‘natural herbal aroma’. Hm. Herbs are good for you though, right? So this was practically a health drink.

I really couldn’t put my finger on the taste – a little aromatic, as with the others, a balance of bitterness and sweetness and something of a fruity flavour mixed in to boot – even above and beyond the lemonade, that is. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t rushing back to pour the other half into my glass.

Now it was the turn of the lemon and elderberry flavoured snaps, which was a floral and zesty drink to clear my palate after the secret and elusive mix of herbs it had just experienced.

 

 

 

These photos are also taken in the fridge. I would like to add at this point that the bottles are very tiny, I was only drinking half of them at a time and that it was the weekend. Also I did split the seven drinks over the course of two nights, so it’s not as bad as it seems, I’m just running it all together for the sake of continuity. Yup.

The lemon and elderberry snaps was very refreshing, more citrus than floral, but with enough elderberry flavour peeping through to make it more interesting than your standard vodka and lemonade. Interestingly, the ingredients list a colouring, but the drink is as clear and sparkling as a gin and tonic. Maybe this particular colouring is, in fact, an anti-colouring? With these drinks, you never can tell.

 

We begin to see the glass tilt dangerously inside the fridge, here, as we introduce possibly the most interesting flavour of all – St John’s Wort. I must say I was already feeling quite uplifted before I even took a sip, it must be good stuff…

The flavour here was quite subtle, not dissimilar to the southernwood drink in the beginning but a little sweeter. The percentage of flavouring to vodka in this snaps was the highest – it was 9% St John’s Wort, compared with 3% southernwood or 0.004% lemon and elderberry. This surely means that the medicinal benefits were the greatest with this drink. I’d be interested to try other liqueurs flavoured with St Johns Wort – or Joannesort, in Swedish – as I enjoyed the little taste I had, but feel like it could be well matched with other flavours to make something really special.

 

 

 

The last snaps was the one I was most looking forward to, and thought I would enjoy. It’s a ‘normal’ flavour by comparison to al the others, but it was nice to finish up with something familiar. Good old svartvinbar, which is otherwise known as blackcurrant. I mixed it with soda, because the snaps itself was already so sweet, and what a beautiful colour it turned out to be.

I left out the mint – I once had a drink with blackcurrant and menthol in it and it was like trying to drink a cough drop. Not good. The flavour was just as you’d expect – sweet and fruity with absolutely no herbs in it whatsoever. A delicious end to the snaps experiment.

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About Rock Salt

Seasoning while rocking out since 1983. View all posts by Rock Salt

28 responses to “IKEA Snaps

  • Emma C

    Which was your favourite in the end?

    • Rock Salt

      I think the blackcurrant was my favourite, but the St Hohn’s Wort was the most interesting and the one I’d be interested in trying out again, possibly in a cocktail recipe…

  • stephlovescake

    I love your style of writing, and even more like your reasoning. I would imagine you are the picture of health after the two days of swilling vitamins! I had no idea and will be on the look out now, the elderberry and blackcurrant sound lovely.

    Not keen on the herbs, had an apertif in Italy once, it was orange, and I can still taste its herbally nastiness to this day!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Steph

  • ChgoJohn

    I’ve not seen liquor of any kind at our IKEA and wonder if it is legal here to sell it. To be sure, special licensing is required and I wonder if IKEA applied. I’ll have to check it out.
    Great post, by the way. You’ve got a great writing style, one that I really enjoy.

    • Rock Salt

      Yes of course, licensing is all very different between here and there – you do need a license to sell alcohol, but I think they’re a LOT easier to get. Thank you for your kind words, too, they mean a lot to me!

  • Geneva M. Wilgus

    Thanks so much for taking on this harrowing tasting experience for the benefit of the foodie community… this is inspirational 😉 The bottles are PRECIOUS!!! I’m just in love with the labels!! Do you think the St. John’s Wort really imparts feel-good vibes? I’m quite intrigued!!!

    • Rock Salt

      Well, it was hard work, but someone has to do these things… 😉 I’m not sure what to think about the St John’s Wort but I know that I enjoyed it. I’d like to try a cocktail with it, I could call it the Natural Prozac.

  • thekalechronicles

    Great commentary (“swilling vitamins” from Steph). Quite the dedicated drinker to go through the whole box in taste tests in one weekend. The bottles are quite attractive.

    • Rock Salt

      The truth is that seven drinks over the course of a weekend doesn’t even begin to approach our British concept of a ‘dedicated drinker’ – I won’t say if I think that’s good or bad 😉

  • susartandfood

    I haven’t seen any liquor in ours either. Hmmm. Drinking has to be taken seriously to be done well, and it sounds like you got down to it. 🙂

    • Rock Salt

      Yes it is a serious business. My main regret is not keeping a notepad by me to keep more detailed observations. I did think of it but I felt like that might be going a step too far!

  • Just A Smidgen

    I’ll be looking for those here.. but I bet they don’t sell them in Canada unless they’ve got a licence.. I want them.. so I can use the bottles after for flowers… they’re adorable!! xo Smidge

    • Rock Salt

      The bottles are so cute, I can definitely see me putting them to good use in future. I’ve bought a book on liqueur making so perhaps they will be refilled with more interesting potions 😀

  • Bam's Kitchen

    Of course the refrigerator light. Brilliant! No pun intended. What flavor was your favorite? I am shocked to see that you were not slurring your written words after something like 6 drinks. So how is the handover after too much John Worts vodka – I have a bad headache but I am really happy about it…LOL Take care, BAM

    • Rock Salt

      Ha – I did write the post retrospectively, but truly I didn’t find them to be too intoxicating at the time! The fridge light was one of those times when necessity is the mother of invention 🙂 The blackcurrant was my favourite, but the St John’s Wort was the most interesting, I’ve like to try it again. And it’s available without prescription!

  • tisrach

    We have just tried the liquors (Its 2nd Feb) We were going to give them to a friend as a token gift at Christmas. So glad we didn’t as we really are friends. Now my partner and I have not drunk alcohol since New Year, but truly these are the most medicinal (nasty!) shots I/we have ever drunk – and I come from Scrumpy country. All I can say is – DONT DO IT (unless you want to sign the pledge)

    • Rock Salt

      Ha – this is hilarious! Amazing how people’s tastebuds differ. I wouldn’t have done them as a shot but with ice I was happy to sip some of them neat, though most needed soda or lemonade to make them enjoyable. The aquavit was the only one I didn’t finish, it was pretty mediciney.

      Scrumpy country – that sounds like a pretty great place to come from!

  • Majstång12

    If you did this in Sweden you would get killed.
    You do not mix Akvavit/snaps, it’s for special holidays and you drink it pure! A small shot to the food and a song before. The big one is now on Friday, midsummer, and you drink allot, always with a song first and not mixed! The ones you can buy at Ikea would not go home in Sweden because it has coloring and artificial flavors. It’s even popular to flavoring it yourself.

    Never mix it.

    • Rock Salt

      Ha – thanks for the warning, I think?!

      It’s always good to learn of other people’s traditions, I like the sound of singing and drinking together.

      I know that some people think there are drinks which should never be mixed – Scotch or a good bourbon spring to mind straight away – but I’m a bit of a rule breaker 😉 Hopefully one day I’ll get to try the real thing, as it is traditionally served.

  • John Thiesen

    I should really like 1 or 2 packs of these for my Collection of Scandinavian minibottles.
    Can anybody help me as they are not on sale here in Denmark.
    Best wishes
    John

    • Rock Salt

      Hi John,

      There is a restriction on sending alcohol by Royal Mail – the cost of posting the miniatures might also be prohibitive. Have you tried contacting IKEA in the UK directly?

      • John Thiesen

        Hi Carol,
        Thanks for Your kind reply.
        I have heard about the latest problems sending minibottles by Royal Mail.
        Are the miniatures still available in Scotland?
        Well I really need two sets.
        Perhaps they can be sent via DHL or other similar Company?
        I pay all the costs.
        Best wishes
        John

        • Rock Salt

          I’m afraid I have no idea – it’s been a while since I visited IKEA. The next time I’m in I will look for you. I’ll leave it to you to check out DHL or other companies – I would recommend calling IKEA first though, they may be able to help.

  • Rymdkrig

    Typically you would drink snaps as a shot with dinner on special occasions such as Christmas, Midsummer, Easter or Crayfish parties. Singing is usually part of the ritual. It is an acquired taste. I had a few too many of those yesterday.

  • Martin

    Hi! I am a Swede and it is really fun to read how you enjoyed the “snaps”. The way we use to drink it is just plain and cold in a high funnel shaped glass together with beer and some kind of dish with pickled heering (the most simple with just rye bread with butter, boiled egg and heering) . Try that! Skål!

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