The back story of Valhalla Premium Aquavit
Copyright Griffin Spirits, LLC. All rights reserved.
Bottle photograph copyright Tim Neil.
How did some folks from Texas become makers of aquavit? That’s a good question, and one we get frequently. Living here in Katy (a community west of Houston), one would not think such a thing likely. The reason is equal parts curiosity, a quest for interesting drinks, and some friends who brought a little bit of the old country with them to Texas.
In our Katy neighborhood where we all settled, we became friends with some the Scandinavian diaspora, people who enjoy gathering for evenings of good food, a lot of laughter, and of course, aquavit. Taking a liking to the aquavit—at the surprise of our Scandinavian friends—we started making our own at home. We developed a recipe using a bit of research and some tweaking of the spice mix to get the desired flavor profile we liked. Even better, our friends and family also liked it! We didn't need much more encouragement to make some more.
Over time, the product became smoother (thanks to the oak barreling) and the taste more refined. The real turning point, however, was a chance meeting with a distributor who encouraged commercial production of the product. From there it moved from a hobby to a labor of love.
But first, of course, a name. After much thought, there was one word that kept coming back to us: Valhalla! It recognizes the drink’s Nordic roots, invokes a recollection of important cultural mythology, and is a term recognized by both Scandinavians and Texans. Thus was born Valhalla Premium Aquavit, made in Katy by Texans—Texans with some Scandinavian inspiration.