Salmiakki Koskenkorva - Gastro Obscura

Drinks

Salmiakki Koskenkorva

This Finnish licorice liqueur is as black as ink and as salty as seawater.

Nordic natives are known for their love of candies coated or filled with the mouth-tingling crystals known as salmiakki. This is the Finnish term for ammonium chloride, the lesser-known edible salt. In fact, Finns have such an affinity for the salty, astringent flavor of salmiakki-coated licorice that they even mix it into their alcohol.

As the popular story goes, inventive Finnish imbibers dissolved salmiakki candies into a bottle of Koskenkorva Viina, a highly distilled grain alcohol. The resulting sweet and salty beverage became a preferred treat by younger drinkers, acquiring the name “teenager’s vodka.” Koskenkorva, the savvy Finnish distiller who also produced the grain alcohol, took note and created a premixed version. Salmiakki Koskenkorva is a deeply inky liqueur alternately described as tasting like a salt-infused Sambuca, or, to critics, Windex-inflected Jägermeister.

Many drinkers, fans and critics alike, attest to the liqueur’s cough syrup flavor. This unique quality also makes Salmiakki Koskenkorva the perfect choice to recreate the “Flaming Moe,” a fictional drink made famous on an episode of The Simpsons. Or, if you don’t want something that intense, you can ease into the flavor by adding a dash to a cup of hot chocolate. And for the sober salmiakki lover, an alcohol-free version is also available.

Need to Know

If Salmiakki Koskenkorva proves challenging to find, many people try to make their own by dissolving turkinpippuri (translated as "Turkish pepper" and often sold as "Tyrkish Peber") in viina or another neutral spirit.

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