A bottle of brännvin

Brännvin is the Swedish term for liquor distilled from potatoes, grain, or (formerly) wood cellulose. It can be plain and colourless, or flavoured with herbs and spices. The term includes vodka and akvavit, but akvavit is always flavored. Beverages labelled brännvin are usually plain and have an alcohol content between 30% and 38%. The word brännvin means "burn[t] (distilled) wine". It is cognate with English brandy[wine], Danish brændevin, Dutch brandewijn, German Branntwein, and Icelandic brennivín. A small glass of brännvin is called a snaps (cf. German schnapps), and may be accompanied by a snapsvisa, a drinking song.[1][2][3]

Outside Scandinavia

In the US, a Chicago producer makes a bitter brännvin (beskbrännvin), called Jeppson's Malört.[4] "Malört" ("ma-laert") is the Swedish word for the plant Artemisia absinthium, wormwood, often used as an ingredient in absinthe.

In Scandinavian culture

Skittles at Faggen's. Drinking scene with a bottle of brännvin from Carl Michael Bellman's Fredman's Epistle no. 55, by Peter Eskilson, 1868

Brännvin was central to the semi-mythical world in the songs of Sweden's bard, Carl Michael Bellman. For example, in Fredman's Epistle no. 1, the first verse begins:[5]

Swedish[5] Translation
Gutår, båd’ natt och dag!
Nu vällust, nytt behag!
Fukta din aska!
Fram, brännvinsflaska!
Lydom Bacchi lag!
Cheers, both night and day!
Now, pleasure, new delight!
Moisten your ash(-dry throat)!
Forth, brännvin-bottle!
Let us obey Bacchus's law!

See also


  1. ^ "Light Swedish vodka Brännvin". Swedish Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  2. ^ Carlsson, Hugo (1957). Svensk brännvinstillverkning genom tiderna: minnesskrift till Sveriges bränneriidkareförenings 50-årsjubileum [Swedish Brännvin Distilling Through the Ages] (in Swedish). Kristianstad: Trade Association.
  3. ^ Ekstrand, A. G. (1893). "Den svenska branvinsindustrien" [The Swedish Brandy Industry]. Svensk Kemisk Tidskrift (in Swedish). 5: 108-.
  4. ^ "JEPPSON'S MALÖRT". Archived from the original on 19 December 2017. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Fredmans Epistel nr 1". Archived from the original on 7 January 2018. Retrieved 6 January 2018.

External links