In 1891, Carl August Anderson launched O.P. Anderson – an aquavit named after his father Olof Petter. With bold but balanced flavors, it quickly established itself as a Swedish tradition and rose to the top of sold aquavits. All through the years, the recipe stayed the same. But aspirations of quality and craftsmanship in the manufacturing kept rising.
O.P. Anderson not only survived two world wars, the resolution of one union and the formation of another, a government monopoly – and not to forget, the prohibition – but flourished as a constant expression of Swedishness.
If Carl August, or even his dad, was around today, we would proudly tell him that all his hard work has definitely not been forgotten – and the future of aquavit looks brighter today than it has in a hundred years.
Traditions like drinking aquavit – that have been around all the way since the 17th century – seem to be quite resilient as the world changes around them. After all, joyful things tend to stick around.
But aquavit wasn’t just consumed for the pleasurable buzz. People loved extracting what nature provided and concentrating it into something that does the body good. Caraway, aniseed and fennel – the three major spice components of O.P. Anderson – have been used to remedy anything from coughs to upset tummies for literally thousands of years.
As such, O.P. Anderson made – and still makes – perfect sense for anything digestion-related. In preparation of a meal, in accompaniment of the meal as well as after the meal.
But, far more than that, whenever we loudly and repeatedly proclaim “Skål!” on these occasions, we raise our glasses and meet the gaze of everyone around the table individually – to express how grateful we are to be in each other’s company.