Shooting Brennivín

The beverage in question.

The beverage in question.

A couple years ago I was drinking rather heavily, mainly as a reaction to my good friend Señor Depresión. Not to the point of alcoholism, but certainly more than was healthy. To halt this worrying trend, and for a few other reasons, I gave up drinking entirely for about nine months. Then I tried re-introducing a small, controlled amount: one drink per week.

That worked very well. And yesterday, after talking to my psychiatrist, I’ve decided to increase my weekly allotment to two.

Not coincidentally, yesterday evening Betsy and I finally tried the Brennivín.

Brennivín is the national liquor of Iceland, and we brought home vast quantities from our trip last October. (If you can’t tell from the photo, each bottle is a few inches tall; total quantity: 100 mL, or 3.3 oz.) But we had never gotten around to actually drinking the stuff, in part because I was still operating under my personal Prohibition at the time.

Also, I really, really didn’t think I would like it. I hate the taste of almost all hard liquor (especially vodka), and Brennivín has a reputation for being especially nasty (and supposedly tastes like vodka). Witness a typical reaction to trying it for the first time: those are the kind of faces you make when someone says they’re voting for Donald Trump. Not to mention, I can tell you from personal experience that cuisine ranks at the very bottom of reasons to visit Iceland.

But I am all about trying new things, especially foreign things, and we’ve had this stuff sitting around for eight months now, and I wanted to celebrate. So I did a whole shot – almost the entire bottle – and Betsy had a sip.

Betsy’s reaction was similar to the woman’s in the video – and Betsy enjoys liquor more than I do. So imagine my surprise when I did the shot and liked it.

I mean, it wasn’t fabulous or anything, but better than any vodka or whiskey I’ve ever had. A curious taste, not actively unpleasant. A nice burn going down.

So: try new things! There’s a small chance you will like them. And if you don’t, you can always record your disgust and post it on YouTube for the amusement of others.

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4 responses to “Shooting Brennivín

  1. Sacrilege! not liking the taste of Vodka!!

    That being said, glad you can drink a bit again. I’ve never heard of Brennivín before today, but it looks interesting. Hiromi and I have been getting into bourbons with varying degrees of success.

  2. a good vodka you shouldn’t taste much, mostly you should get a nice alcohol “warm” feeling as it goes down. If you get a “my throat is burning and rough” feeling then its probably a cheaper vodka. Also, and I think you know this, vodka is to be served chilled (keep the bottle in the freezer).

    Grey Goose and Kettle one are ok to take shots of straight. Not the best of course but fairly decent.

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