Brennivín is a fine hard caraway-flavoured schnapps, traditionally served as cold as possible. So cold that the liquor gels, if possible. To achieve this effect, place the bottle inside a milk carton full of water, and let it freeze overnight. This allows the bottle to maintain a solid block of ice.
The Grapevine decided that if Brennivín is going to be the next big hard alcohol, there should be some appropriate Brennivín cocktails. For the most part, this led to gastrological disasters, which we will list below, but one charming bartender at Sirkus, the place in Iceland you’re least likely to order or be served a cocktail, invented the definitive Brennivín cocktail, the Nohito—with alternative spelling No-Heat-O, if you’re in the mood.
To enjoy a Nohito, combine one part Brennivín, one and a half parts Martini Bianco, one half part dark rum, lemon and lime, a dash of Bols Peppermint, and top off with three parts ginger ale. The result is a full-bodied, sneaky drink reminiscent of Burt Reynolds in his 70s heyday. Yes, that smooth.
After investigating rumours from the North, our reporter swears by the ultimate Icelandic cocktail. He calls it the Mountain King. Ingredients are two parts Brennivín, four parts Mysa (the dairy run off you get when you make yoghurt, available for purchase in most grocery stores), and Mountain Dew.
The other classic from the North was the “1972”—not quite a cocktail but extremely popular in Húsavík. Coca-Cola is rested on a radiator until extremely warm, then combined with three shots of Brennivín.
Along the disaster category, the first is Brennivín and Magic energy drink, which both tasted bad and produced dastardly effects on mind and liver, something called the Pink Pig, made at Sirkus, which was nicknamed the Appendix by a man who claimed his appendix burst after one sip, and the OC, Original Confusion, a Brennivín and Egils Appelsín orange soda beverage that hurt a great deal.
The long and short of it is this: Brennivín can work well in cocktails, namely the Nohito and the Mountain King, but be extremely careful. You’re playing with something a lot more powerful than fire. And the fact that it can have such disastrous consequences makes the whole experience that much more pleasurable.