Don’t Judge Me Mondays: License to Kill

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My friend Betsy just got back from an amazing trip to Scotland and Iceland. One of the souvenirs  she brought back for us was a small bottle of Brennivin, also known as “Black Death”.   This spirit is from Iceland and is similar to vodka but is flavored with dill or caraway.  It is traditionally served chilled in a shot glass and is the spirit paired with shark (which Betsy tried!).  It is apparently an acquired taste, but I actually like it.  Derek and I both sipped some and found that, yes, it tasted similar to vodka and I actually feel like it has a slight anise aftertaste.  I wanted to make a cocktail with it, but didn’t want anything to overpower the mild flavor.  Its herby qualities reminded me of gin so a martini seemed like the smart way to go.  Derek came up with the name, combining the elements of Black Death and a martini being James Bond’s drink of choice (Derek really does come up with the best titles!). 🙂

Let’s get to it!

You should be able to find Brennivin (also referred to Aquavit in the states) at most large liquor stores like Total Wine & More.

Fill a shaker about halfway with ice. Add the Brennivin and dry vermouth.

Pop the top on your shaker and give it a few vigorous shakes.  Strain into your favorite martini glass.

Enjoy with an olive or cocktail onion if you like.

Skál! That’s Icelandic for cheers. 😉


License to Kill
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  • 1 1/2 ounces Brennivin
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth


  1. Fill a shaker about halfway with ice. 
  2. Add Brennivin and dry vermouth.  
  3. Pop top onto shaker and shake vigorously.  
  4. Strain into martini glass.
  5. Garnish with an olive or cocktail onion, if desired.






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