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Nordic Summer – An Aquavit & Aperol Cocktail

Aquavit, Aperol, and lime juice form a cocktail trifecta in this crisp and refreshing aquavit sour. This is an incredibly simple but tasty way to get to know a new bottle of aquavit. I enjoy it best with Ahus Akvavit.


The Nordic Summer is from my new book, Essential 3-Ingredient Cocktails, now available on Amazon!

This unexpected combination of aquavit, Aperol, and lime is crisp, fruity, and herbal, making it a fun happy hour option for the imbiber in search of something a bit different. It’s also really simple, making it quick and easy to whip up.

What is aquavit?

Aquavit is a clear spirit produced in Scandinavian countries and flavored with a variety of botanicals. It has a unique herbal flavor that works particularly well in cocktails with citrus such a lime or grapefruit, and vegetables, such as cucumber.

Aquavit is typically made from a base of grain or potatoes, infused with various herbs and spices, notably caraway seeds. Aquavit has a complex and aromatic flavor, combining the warmth of spices like dill, fennel, and coriander with the earthiness of caraway and the brightness of citrus peels. It is often enjoyed neat or as a chilled shot, and it serves as a traditional accompaniment to Nordic cuisine, particularly during holiday celebrations.

The Nordic Summer features prominent herbal notes from the aquavit, balanced with the brightness of lime juice and the citrusy, orange-forward, bittersweet Aperol.

How to make the cocktail

To make a Nordic Summer, combine 2 ounces of aquavit with 1 ounce of Aperol and 1 ounce of fresh lime juice in a cocktail shaker.

Fill the shaker about 3/4 with ice, then shake until thoroughly chilled. Strain the liquid into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an expressed orange twist.

Want more spring and summer-inspired cocktails? Try my Perfect Aperol Sour, Elderflower & Grapefruit Aquavit Sour or my Midnight Sunshine Frozen Peach & Aquavit Cocktail.

Crisp and a bit on the dry side

I love the simple, slightly dry nature of this cocktail. Aperol is a bittersweet, but quite mild (and fairly sweet) liqueur, so for me, it’s sweet enough to balance the lime.

However, if you prefer a sweeter drink, or are sensitive to bitter flavors, feel free to add a quarter to a half ounce of simple syrup.

Don’t forget to finish the cocktail with expressed orange oils. The fresh oils add brightness and enhance the sweetness of the Aperol.

More aquavit cocktail recipes to try:

orange cocktail in a coupe glass

Nordic Summer

Amy Traynor
A simple 3-ingredient aquavit cocktail with Aperol and lime juice.
4.26 from 35 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail


  • 2 oz aquavit I recommend Ahus Akvavit
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • 1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice


  • Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill 3/4 with ice.
  • Shake until well chilled, about 12 seconds.
  • Strain into a coupe glass (preferably chilled).
  • Garnish with an expressed orange twist.
Keyword aperol, aquavit, citrus, easy cocktails, summer drinks, whiskey sour
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating


Monday 21st of June 2021

Loving this one... bright, tart, and refreshing makes for a perfect summer drink!

Oni White

Monday 31st of May 2021

Glad I ran across this blog searching to begin my own mixology journey. I'm loving the garnish pick. Can you share where they are from? Thanks!


Monday 31st of May 2021

Thanks! They’re from Surfside Sips