Book Review: Spirit of the North

Book Review: Spirit of the North

As a guy who runs a website about alcohol and who’s married to a Swede, I read “spirit of the north” literally: The spirit of the north is of course aquavit, or maybe vodka, depending on the season.

Of course, Selma Slabiak’s book isn’t intended to be so literal: For her, the spirit of the north is an intangible spirit — albeit one which is best accessed via drinking cocktails. This is actually a quite spare collection of libations — just about 30 cocktails spread across over 150 pages. You can expect to get four pages per drink: One short introduction, a mood-setting photograph, a recipe, and a photo of the finished cocktail. There’s lots of white space here, as the book is clearly designed to evoke a mood of calm and peace rather than give you hundreds of shooters to get lit from.

Slabiak’s cocktails are not always universally Scandinavian in construction, but most are, often incorporating ingredients like dried flowers, spruce, rhubarb, lingonberry, and — of course — aquavit. You may struggle to find every ingredient for every cocktail in the book, but most of the recipes are fairly accessible and they universally look enticing. If nothing else, just flipping through the book and checking out the pictures should put you in a better mood, whether you decide to mix up a cocktail or not.


Spirit of the North




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