From Vikings to little mermaids, the Danish are known for more than just breakfast pastry. And considering it’s the birthplace of Lager, it’s a safe assumption to make that the people of Denmark certainly know how to have a good time. Many bars have a happy hour (usually called “Double Up”) a couple of afternoons or evenings a week. “Hygge” is also a key part of the Danish way of life; as it means focusing on forgetting daily problems and enjoying the simple things in life. Young people will meet their friends in one of the many cafés for a cup of coffee or a beer. Rich in history and packed with things to do, it is no wonder recent surveys have deemed as “the happiest place in the world.”
WHERE WE WENT
- Carlsberg Brewery — Established in 1847, its one of the largest breweries in the world. While they produce many varieties, Carlsberg Lager is their top selling product. If you have the opportunity (and the funds), try the $400+ bottle of Unlimited Dedication Beer. Created by Carlsberg but brewed under the name Jacobsen, it’s a 10.5% brew that is aged in oak barrels for 6 months. Pair it with some Danish blue cheese to really bring out the flavor of the beer.
- Absolut Icebar – Located at the Copenhagen Hotel 27, this sub zero ice bar serves vodka cocktails in glasses made of ice, that are designed to work in cold environments. Guests will be outfitted with appropriate attire. Try the Absolut Dare, a mix of Absolut Pears, Ginger Liqueur, Blue Curacao and Lychee Juice.
- Sorens Vortshus — For a less touristy experience, pop into this local watering hole in Copenhagen. Drink more Carlsberg Lager and try a shot of Fisk, a grain-based alcohol flavored with black licorice, menthol and Eucalyptus.
- Aalborg — Travel north to the city of Aalborg where Denmark’s “water of life,” Aalborg Akvavit, is produced. Visit the distillery, the largest producer of spirits in all of Scandinavia and the largest Akvavit producer in the world. They make 17 varieties of Akvavit there, including the Taffel Akvavit, which is the most popular of the Akvavits. It’s customary to take 3 shots of this back to back. For an Akvavit to qualify as such, it must meet certain requirements: must contain dill and caraway, must be 37.5% and must contain no essential oils.
- Lars Jeppesen’s converted icebreaker “Elbjorn” – You may need to ask around town to find Lars, but as the “Godfather of Aalborg,” you shouldn’t have trouble finding him. Hope aboard his boat, where there’s a restaurant and a bar and try some of the different varieties of Danish spirits, like his signature Elbjorn Snaps, the Aalborg Nordguld Akvavit and Hoker Snaps. Be sure to mention “Three Sheets” for a free taste of the vintage 1989 spirit Aalborg Jule Akvavit (only while supplies last).
- The traditional “Cheers” of Denmark is “Skol” or “Skal” (pronounced “skull”) but said like you mean it!
- In 1883 the Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis strain of yeast was created which led to the birth of lager.
- Criminals take note: Attempting to escape from prison is not illegal in Denmark, however, if one is caught he is required to serve out the remainder of his term.
- Believe it or not, Denmark is the oldest monarchy in Western Europe.
- Denmark is home to the Great Belt Bridge, the largest suspension bridge of its type in the world with a height as tall as the Eiffel Tower.
- Notable great Danes include writer Hans Christian Andersen, drummer Lars Ulrich and physicist Niels Bohr.
- The national flag of Denmark, the Dannebrog, is the oldest country flag in the world that is still in use.
Drink: Absolut Dare
- Absolut Pears
- Ginger Liqueur
- Blue Caraçao
- Lychee Juice
How to Toast in Denmark
“Skal” or “Skol” (Pronounced Skull)
Some believe this tradition dates back to when Denmark’s viking ancestors would drink from the skulls of their enemies; others believe that Skal comes from the Scandinavia world for ‘Bowl’ which was what people drank from back then.
How to cheers beer bottles:
- For a Lager: Cheers necks
- For an Ale: Cheers the bottoms
Stop by the Viking Club and jump int he freezing cold water.
Please Sir, I Want Some More
Learn more about traveling to Denmark here.