postcard from sweden – n stands nubbe

my postcard stamp - text N stands for Nubbe – Intoxication is voluntary madness.

We, Swedes, love a good reason to eat food that requires a “nubbe”. We love any good reason to be drunk, disorderly and stupid. Like at Easter, Midsummer and the Crayfish festival. Even at Christmas we take a “nubbe” or two with the pickled herrings dishes. “Nubbe” isn’t anything we drink weekly.

And it has to be ice cold – most of us keep a bottle of snaps in our freezer at all time, in case of. Me too. *smile

Swedish snaps - wikipedia orgSnaps is a small quantity of aquavit, usually as much as form a mouthful or a sip. Schnapps drinking usually from a smaller glass intended for the purpose, lace glass. The word snaps can also be included in both the drink and the glass. A common measure was a Virgo, which corresponds to 8.2 cl but that disappeared after about 1850. In the mid-1900s was a standard snaps on restaurant 7.5 cl.

Two such implied 15cl, and thus was “ration” according to contemporary alcohol legislation reached. When the legislation was subsequently amended (the elimination of the ration book) became the standard dimension 6 cl for a restaurant snaps. A Danish snaps, “a little one”, is less: in the extreme case as low as 1 cl, which in practice hardly more than a minimum sample. (text:

nubbar - finest se

Also we sing before every “nubbe” we take – the more “nubbe” the better singing. Silly short “snaps” songs – just like Will Ferrell does in this video on Jonathan Ross show, the shot song is called “Helan Går” – it means take it all at once. Also the song I use as cloud for this postcard.

Shot = snaps or nubbe

Spiced liquor is primarily a Scandinavian phenomenon. The custom of spice liquor, began in the 1500s, when for medical reasons, now for the taste.


The largest group of spiced spirits aquavit. The flavor is dominated by caraway, other garden spices or dill. Other spices are permitted as a complement. Anise, fennel, caraway, dill seeds and other vegetable garden spices used to flavor breads as well as brandy.

Along with salty butter, herring of all kinds, Dill cooked crayfish, cumin spiced cheese, rye bread, marinated salmon and other typical Nordic dishes are spiced schnapps part of our traditional festive culture.snaps - explorewestsweden com The largest group of flavored schnapps is aquavit, where caraway and /or dill must be included. Other spices are allowed, but the former will dominate the taste. Norwegians seasons preferably with only cumin, and stores usually its aquavit in sherry casks, while this is unknown at the Danes, who almost slavishly follow dill and cumin as a spice, but in return it screws up the alcohol a few snap.

nubbe- di se

In Sweden do you make a lot of aquavit, some barrel aged, mostly not. We also have a rich flora by other liquor types, like porcelain, St. John’s wort and bitter orange. A peculiar flavor of brandy is wormwood, which has a very bitter taste. Bitter schnapps has its loyal followers as well as detractors.

Anyway, do not hesitate to serve it to the smorgasbord, although the bitter flavored schnapps, may take precedence over the taste of the food, which is why it sometimes finish last as a digestif (text:

I love my “nubbe” to be plain – Absolut vodka!  Best vodka for shots, because it’s so pure and if you only stick to it and don’t mix with any other alcohol – you will be okay the next day. Personally I max spread myself to 2 “nubbe”.aquavit - nyab se

A lot of us make our own flavored/spiced aquavit – using vodka as base – and anyting goes, it looks and taste like. Had a dinner at the famous Swedish restaurant “Aquavite” in New York many years ago and they had over 70 different flavors on their aquavit.

When serving “nubbe” I also rinse my shot glasses in water and put them in the freezer – so they ice up.

Today we can buy mixed packs of mixed flavored aquavit – so every guest can get their own little bottle. If we want to be real fancy we use an empty tetra pack box (big juice) – put the full size bottle in the middle – we fill the tetra with water and put flowers and leaves inside and then we freeze the pack over night – time for serving the tetra package will be removed. Very effective to put the beautiful ice block on the table.

snaps in ice block  - expressen se

I think that it was the old Vikings started this tradition up here in the Nordic countries – to become stronger, braver and to keep the warmth during the cold winters, but also very violent and stupid. It’s nothing for the fainthearted, but it’s something you have to try when visiting Sweden, but a good advice – don’t bite the snaps off – let it all go down at once.

“Alcohol gives you infinite patience for stupidity.”
Sammy Davis, Jr.

My cloud “Helan Går” – The histroy of the song is difficult to follow as it is rarely talked about in historical documents. However, we know that it was quoted in an operetta already in 1843.

Several composers have written variations on the melody, including Franz Lehár. If Franz Lehar is also told that he, during his visit to Sweden in 1937, in all seriousness said to have believed that “Helan Går” is Sweden’s national anthem.

When Sweden won the Ice Hockey World Championship in 1957 in Moscow, in the former Soviet Union, could not all of the Swedish players text to our anthem, so instead they sang “Helan Går”.

Images provided by and thanks to:
Gallery 1;
Gallery 2;


22 thoughts on “postcard from sweden – n stands nubbe

  1. What an absolutely delightful lesson: tho’ born cattycorner from you and with one Swedish grandmother, I surely did not know all these facts 🙂 ! In Estonia the habit of course is the same, a tiny bit bigger glasses come out at every opportunity and vodka is very much the name of the game, tho’ one is sometimes asked whether one would like a ‘snaps’ or as we know it a ‘naps’ 🙂 !! Now I am into wine, cognac and the occasional single malt, so all of this is quite theoretical of course 😉 !!!!!!

    • I like my “nubbe” with my herrings .. and crayfish – season just now .. so we are getting silly on “nubbe” nearly every weekend now. *smile
      I can only manage a whisky or a cognac when I have a cold – not anything I enjoy at all. My favorite drink is Absolut vodka with tonic. And Mojito’s … MMmmmm!
      Our normal “nubbe” is 6cl.
      I wish you a pleasant weekend.

    • Julie, thank you so much … my life really … isn’t that interesting. And Swedish drinking habits are not that great neither. Even if we only drink during weekends, we are not a pretty sight when we do. *smile
      I wish you a great weekend.

  2. I was thinking that I like your habit of keeping a bottle of Snaps in your freezer when I got to the ‘ice bucket’. What a great idea! It looks very effective 🙂
    I’m very ignorant about your ‘culture’, Vivi. Well, I was- I have no excuses now!

    Did anyone hand the keys in, by any chance? I don’t know if you have a ‘concierge’ or caretaker present who might have them? Clutching at straws! I can’t believe that somebody would keep them. Hugs, darlin’.

    • Jo, so long as you don’t put the wine in the freezer, because the bottle will explode *smile
      I don’t understand what you mean with being ignorant about my “culture” – you lost me there. How can you be ignorant when you don’t live over here???!!!
      Keys, no .. nobody has handed them in, but the good news is that home insurance covers it except the deductible – that means I will only have to pay 40% of the cost. So that is great news.
      This weekend we have a massive photo festival here in Landskrona. 5 different exhibition centers. So Oscar and I will enjoying that tomorrow.
      I wish you both a lovely weekend, mine have a mixture of sun and rain.

      • That’s great news about the keys though it would be 100% better to have them back. I was walking again this morning (for a change 🙂 ) It’s much cooler here too but pleasant. This is a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK so everywhere will be busy. I’ll stay home and ‘catch up’, iron (ugh!) and peel apples. The neighbour gave me a sack full- pies and crumbles here I come 🙂
        Happy weekend, hon. Cloudy hugs xx

      • I love apple crumbles …. not very keen on pies. So make one for me too *smile. So envy now, we have got loads of berries, fruit and mushrooms this year – nature is generous this year.
        I remember those August Bank Holidays … mental on our ferries, everybody seemed to go somewhere. Good for business.
        Bank Holiday hugs …

  3. 🙂 We used to always have a bottle of Aquavit and glasses (!) in the freezer box…just in case dinner was to heavy and somebody needed some relief for the tummy 😉
    I guess it has to do with growing up in Northern Germany…so close to Scandinavia!
    Many hugs xo 🙂

    • Maybe our drinking habits has come from Germany!!!
      Underberg is my relief and when I need it I take it in any temperature. *smile
      But I truly enjoy an iced nubbe to my herring or crayfish.
      It’s season now for the crayfish – time for us Swedes to get silly every weekend again.
      I wish you a pleasant weekend.
      After Midnight hugs … *smile

    • Uru, my sweet thing. I don’t see myself very elegant *smile
      But thanks for your lovely comment.
      I can promise you that when we Swedes had too many “nubbe” we’re far away from being elegant.

  4. Your blogs are just fabulous. I nominate you for my singular award of great inspiration! ♛♚♜♔♛♚♔

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