The Golden Compass

San Francisco’s restaurant scene is brutal, with every day bringing news of another shutter. One of the more recent casualties was Volta, an elegant Nordic restaurant that featured delicious pickled herring spreads and excellent cocktails. The beautiful, back-lit bar had a large selection of aquavits collected from a number of Scandinavian countries. Their drinks made us begin to appreciate the spirit, and after the closure, prompted us to pick up a bottle of our very own aquavit.

My only exposure to aquavit had been drinking it at Volta, and with Swedish cowokers. For those who aren’t familiar, Aquavit is similar to gin, but the predominant flavor is either caraway or dill. Some are almost ouzo or sambuca-like in flavor, and others are nearly as mild as vodka.

We picked up a bottle of Venus Aquavit #1, an American aquavit, from K&L and set to work. Venus is predominantly caraway flavored, and has a nice, peppery finish. This month’s Mixology Monday Apertif challenge, hosted by Stacy Markow, seemed like the perfect opportunity to test it out, as aquavit is commonly considered a digestif in the Nordic countries. I wanted to create something that reminded me of the curried pickled herring paired with Aquavit I’d enjoyed at Volta. To that end, we I created the Golden Compass – an after dinner drink with a spicy, Indian kick and beautiful shimmering gold flecks of curry.


  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • .75 oz Aquavit
  • .5 oz Curry Powder Simple Syrup


Cocktail glass


  • Mix 1 oz hot water with .175 oz curry powder and .75 oz white sugar and stir to create a curry powder simple syrup
  • Mix all ingredients together in cocktail shaker
  • Shake and strain into cocktail glass

3 thoughts on “The Golden Compass

  • 2017-05-29 at 9:08 am

    Is there a typo in the syrup instructions? No mention of sugar but 2 x curry powder 🙂


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