Thursday, December 16, 2010


Several weeks ago, I ruined a perfectly good bottle of Grey Goose vodka and turned it into Salmiakkikossu.

I'm not going to lie. The thing scared me. It sat in the office freezer, taunting me every time I walked by. Drink me, it would call, dddrrrriiinnnnnkkkkk meeeee, I dare you to.

There were a few days I felt up to the challenge, but when I opened up the bottle, the smell of burnt liquorice and the thick, syrupy texture made me change my mind. I'll do it tomorrow, I'd tell myself as I corked the bottle of black death and hid it away in the freezer.

Well the time has finally come, and you can once again thank my dear friend Matti Nikki. Well, "friend" is a bit strong of a word... perhaps enabler or wisher-of-serious-pain-and-bodily-harm is a more apt descriptor. Matti encouraged me to go for the goose, and this is what he was referring to.

I felt this taste test called for two trials: sipping Salmiakkikossu while sober, and then drinking it while drunk. After all, nothing makes things taste better than a healthy state of inebration.

I learned some good lessons that night.
  1. Scotch and Salmiakkikossu don't pair very well
  2. Salmiakkikossu causes severe - and I mean severe - feeling of dehydration
  3. When sleeping on the conference room floor, it's best to lay under the table; it's hard for the cleaning staff to vacuum around you otherwise
  4. Laying face-down on the cheap, commercial-grade carpet causes a severe case of carpet-face that takes two full days to clear up
As for the Salmiakkikossu, it wasn't that bad... and it got better the more I drank it. The homemade variety wasn't as good, but both had a sweet and spicy flavor, not unlike sambuca or ouzo. The salt comes in much later, and it comes in fury.

Overall, it deserves a conditional halfway-decent rating: drink only while already sufficiently liquored-up.


  1. I prefer to drink it at room temperature; you get more flavour that way.

  2. I prefer the home made version. And if it is done properly, you don't even get drunk. "How can that be?", you may ask. This is how it is possible.

    Take four pieces of Turkinpippuri candy (the salmiak kind) and put them in a glass.

    Pour four centiliters of Koskenkorva vodka on top of them.

    Put something on top of the glass to prevent the alcohol from evaporating.

    You may stir the "delicacy" with a spoon from time to time.

    Wait until the candy is completely dissolved (this will take about four to six hours).


    If (when) you want more, you can immediately start to prepare the next shot.

    One shot of vodka (with salmiak) every 4 to 6 hours means you won't get drunk.

  3. It's been a long time since I drank Salmiakkikossu.. After holidays I'm visiting the local Alko and get a nice full bottle of it and spend some quality time :P

  4. Be careful with this alcohol subject and Finns.. or you might end up writing another blog. :-D

  5. Oh yes. Alex and the adventures in Finnish booze, that I'd like to see.

  6. Good lad! It's better the second time around! :D

  7. That is realy hilarious... Maybe I should get and send you some real treat ;D

  8. Sleeping under a table is preferable in most situations where you have to sleep not at your house after drinking. It makes it harder for people to mess with you or drunk people to trip over you. Also good is to have a nice soft coat that can double as pillow in a pinch.

  9. 1st of all, thanks to Finland Forum for diverting me to this very interesting site!

    To the subject, then. While it probably is a bit challenging task to do salmiakki drinks by a non-Scandinavian I appreciate the test the writer took part in :-).

    In my opinion (as a Finnish native) the generic, state owned alcohol company sold product, is for sissies. The taste of liquorice is quite faint in the product, unlike in the one produced by oneself. Ahh, the taste of latter is something totally different with a strong taste of liquorice and it overshadows the taste of the spirit itself. You just need to hammer the liquorice candies to small pieces and then put the substance into the spirit bottle. Some people tend to put the bottle into a dishwasher to get the drink completed fast, others just swing the bottle in their hands occasionally till liquorice is smelted to the spirit (kept my (precious)ones under my bed...sick, yes).

    One more thing...the 2nd version I mentioned takes more time and requires a few sipping tests....that may get you drunk ;-). Still, it is a great fun!

    Summa summarum: a great drink if you appreciate strong liquorice taste! Think I'll make a dose of the product soon :-D.

    - Mustakaapu -

  10. You know what does pair really well with salmiakkikossu? Lager beer. Alternating gulps of beer with sips of the black stuff works amazingly.

  11. For sleeping, I suggest _on_ the table. Much more comfortable and you don't disturb the cleaners at all.

  12. About finns and drinking:

    On the topic, Salmiakkikossu (or Salmari) is quite dangerous substance for the unexperienced. You cannot taste the alcohol at all and after few shots the (bitter)sweet taste turns out to be quite enjoyable.

  13. Excellent effort, I'll tip my hat for you kind sir! This venture into the world of salmiakkikossu has shown true pioneer spirit from your behalf.

    In Finland, when salmiakkikossu was announced, it got really popular with the teens, because the strong taste of salmiakki muted the taste of ethanol away and you could drink fair amounts of the stuff. And as you noted, it keeps tasting better the more drunk you get.

    I still think salmiakkikossu is one of the better variants invented in the field of spiced spirits. The contender, tar kossu (tervakossu) tends to have a more wooden, overpowering taste and you cannot really enjoy but small amounts of it before you get satiated.

  14. Salmiakkikossu was banned (voluntarily by state monopol) for while because teens could drink it too much and it caused alcohol poisonings :)

  15. Salmariiiiii_!!!

    I dare you! I still can drink another shoot!

    What!#?! You won't sell me another? I'm still soberuter don't youyae seee ta? Now gimme anotehrea or I will traaer yuar out o f thea... bar.... *zzzz*

  16. Have you made Salmiakkikossujelly?? We make it every Halloween. So awful that is nearly good. It´s better when selfmade. Turkish peppers salmiakki amd Koskenkorva. Soak sweets to kossu and make jelly. :/ It is ugly and bad, but sooooooo halloween :D

  17. It is a shot, you are supposed to empty that shot glass fully in your mouth in one second and then pass it to stomach imediately.

  18. Salmiakkikossu was actually banned from stores when it was invented, because there was a big concern that it would be popular amongst children, because it tastes like candy and not alcohol. Imagine that...

  19. Salmiakkikossu is excellent with Bailey's. Try it - you'll love it!

  20. I tried this with the Dracula Piller, but the results were fairly disappointing. I only used one bag (65 grammes) at first, and it tasted like dishwater. With 2 bags the ammonium chloride finally started to come through, but the sweetness of the center of the candy was completely lost, and the dissolved coating couldn't compete against the pure alcohol taste of vodka.

    Ground Tyrkisk Peber mixed with good russian vodka makes the finest salmiakki shots.

  21. I would warmly recommend 4-5 bags of Sisu Horna to any bottle of vodka :) I used 3-4 bags to 0.5l Smirnoff and yum-my! Best when taken directly from the freezer :) Thank you for a funny blog!
    /Jenni from Turku, Finland

  22. Children of the pastJuly 26, 2011 at 5:57 AM

    Well, Salmiakkikossu is very pleasant to puke!

    Have tried this when I was 16. But it took few years since I drunk it again... ;-)

    Anyway I have always loved Turkish Peppers!

  23. Hum just a note, "vodka" like you call the thing you used isnt really good base on any homemade liquor, not even salmiakkiliquor.. or to even drink plain *shudder*. But its hilarious to see how other reacts things with salmiakki, its my few enjoyments living outside of Finland ;)

  24. I still prefer to walk into the store to buy Dropshot ready made (yeah, Dutch. The salkmiak-love isn't unique to the Finnish ;))

  25. Two measures of Salmiakki and one measure of Bailey's - and plenty of ice. If you like the combination of chocolate and liquorice, you'll love this drink!

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