Alcohol In Iceland: 10 Fiery Must-Try Icelandic Drinks

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Are you wondering what alcohol in Iceland you should try? Discover 10 delicious Iceland drinks, including beers, liqueurs, spirits, and cocktails.  Plus, learn a little more about Iceland’s illicit relationship with beer.

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Keep reading for our tasty Icelandic drinking guide.

If you are headed to Iceland and wondering what to drink next, we got you! Nothing beats coming back to your hotel after a long day of waterfall and glacier chasing and warming up with a famous Icelandic spirit.

Iceland’s liquors are sweet and nostalgic of the land, and their whiskeys will put the ‘fire’ in the ‘land of fire and ice.’ Icelandic beers range from hoppy and light to deep and nutty, and you cannot skip a drink at the Blue Lagoon. All are delicious.

Who knew that Icelandic alcohol was so plentiful and good, especially after such a long period of Prohibition? Keep on reading for the history of alcohol in Iceland along with delicious Iceland spirits, our favorite Icelandic liqueurs, and the endless flights of beer we devoured.

Let’s get started!

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What Iceland drink is waiting for you? Keep on reading, and don’t forget to save this post for your next Icelandic adventure.

A History Of Alcohol In Iceland: Icelandic Prohibition

Did you know that Iceland had a rather long and modern Prohibition period? No drinking in Iceland for you, TUL.  

From 1915-1989, boozy bloggers could hardly find a drink in the land of fire and ice.  Seen as a progressive move with support from women — who still technically could not vote — Iceland banned the booze. 

I’d probably become an illegal homebrewer, too, and top it all off with some suspenders, fishnets, and a pageboy hat. These are my Prohibition fantasies.

I honestly cannot believe how long the Icelandic ban on beer lasted.  March 1st, 1989 is Bjordagur, “Beer Day,” when Icelanders could enjoy their first legal cold brew. 

To be fair, Iceland legalized wine in 1922, and by 1935, everything but beer and beverages with less than 2.25% alcohol could be kicked back publicly.

Why the dry?  Politically, beer drinking in Iceland had a Danish association. Iceland fought hard to become an independent republic by 1944.  Personally, I don’t think the 1918 date counts. Go ahead historians, troll me. 

I know, it is hard to imagine being deemed non-patriotic by drinking beer when today in the U.S. we have far worst symbols appearing…

Alcohol In Iceland Today

With all of this tipsy history, when we headed to Iceland, I was ready to enjoy ALL the bevies.  We found craft breweries in Reykjavík and Vík, did not tour but enjoyed whiskeys and liquors from local distilleries, and of course, tried a few craft cocktails.

These are a few of my favorite alcoholic beverages in Iceland.  Some you cannot miss while others are just personal preference. We all know Reyka Vodka, but what else is there to drink in Iceland?

Plus, you need something to warm up your soul on those chilly glacier-filled days.  Let our history and booze-filled Icelandic tour begin.

10 Must-Try Icelandic Drinks, Spirits, And Liquors

Where should you grab a delicious Icelandic drink? Who makes the best Icelandic beer? These are our personal favorite Icelandic liquors, drinks, and spirits. Find what you should drink next while traveling around Iceland.

There is always this option at the penis museum…

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No, not reallyyou can’t drink this, but you sure can stare at this exhibition at the Icelandic Phallological MuseumHashtag winning.

So, Why Icelandic Alcohol?

I truly believe that alcohol in Iceland — like most other places — is ingrained in a country’s identity and history.  Alcohol is important to history. Like Anthony Bourdain’s relationship with food, we understand a culture and place over a meal and drinks. 

From elves and natural elements to passion and just good conversation, Iceland infuses heritage and nature into their booze.

To me, Iceland’s drinks combine Mother Nature into fiery beverages meant to warm the soul like the Blue Lagoon or light up your taste buds just like the Nothern Lights light up the sky.

Plus, the country had such a divisive relationship with alcohol, I’m more than intrigued.  Today, Icelanders are still known for drinking less than their European counterparts.

In many ways, this is how I choose to study and greet Iceland.

What is your favorite Iceland spirit or liquor?

What do you like to drink while in Iceland? What is your favorite Icelandic beer? Have you tried any of the Icelandic alcoholic drinks above? Let us know in the comments.

This post originally published on March 12, 2019 and has been updated for 2021.

Looking For Places To Stay In Iceland?

If you are searching for places to stay in Iceland, don’t miss these Airbnb Stays.

You can also check out these Hotels Around Reykjavik and the Golden Circle.

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Headed to Iceland? Don’t go thirsty! Save these Icelandic drinks, liquors, spirits, and beers for later.

You May Also Find These Iceland Articles Helpful:

First-Timers Guide To The Blue Lagoon Spa and Retreat
Will I Enjoy Iceland In The Winter, Including February?
Learn The Truth About Driving In Iceland With Snow
Find Your New Favorite Iceland Book Or Author
Learn More About Iceland’s Christmas tradition, Jolabokaflod
Headed For A Road On Ring Road? Check Out These Southern Iceland Waterfalls
Grab Our 7-Day Iceland Itinerary

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Christine Frascarelli

Christine (she/her) is the owner, lead editor, and tipsy book sommelier of The Uncorked Librarian LLC, an online literary publication showcasing books and movies to inspire travel and home to the famed Uncorked Reading Challenge.

With a BA in English & History from Smith College, an MLIS from USF-Tampa, and a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship in Christine's back pocket, there isn't a bookstore, library, or winery that can hide from her. Christine loves brewery yoga, adopting all of the kitties, and a glass of oaked Chardonnay. Charcuterie is her favorite food group.

24 Comments

  1. I always forget that Iceland was living under their own prohibition so late in the 20th century!! That’s wild. I loved the descriptions of each drink, they all sound pretty good tbh. I only became legal a few months ago, so the extent of my alcoholic palette is sparkly spritzers/rose :’) I’ve gotta try some of these at some point for sure!

    1. Isn’t that wild!? I had no idea until we arrived in Iceland and started reading about their Prohibition. Congrats on the big Birthday! Sparkly spritzers are wonderful. I’ll have to make up some literary cocktails for you soon.

  2. I’ve never had port, so I can’t be certain I would like this but I would try the Blueberry Liqueur. Viking beer does sound pretty cool though! I must say, I love that you have prohibition fantasies hahahaha! You’d look great in one of those pageboy hats.

    1. We have this speakeasy restaurant in Ocala, FL. I just want so badly to rock some old fashioned clothes while drinking an Old Fashioned.

      Is this awful…I feel like I am making raging stereotypes…but I feel like I needed Viking everything in Iceland.

  3. I did manage to try some of the beers in Iceland, but did not go down the liquor route…until I hit that duty-free section of the airport, and came home with some samples. I haven’t broken into them yet, but I am sure that I will soon. Alcohol really does reflect a place. It is in how they use what they have to create the flavors. I like that. It seems romantic.

    Also, I totally understand how you feel about Vik. I still remember the first time I saw it as we drove down the hill and could see the church on the hill. Wow. The whole town is charming, and we also had a lovely date with some Icelandic horses there. The food! The beaches! The quiet charm! How can one resist?

    1. That is so much fun! I had heard how we should try the duty-free booze but was just too tired to care by that point. LOL. I am kind of jealous and now having regrets. Shameful for a boozy blogger, really. I cannot wait to hear what you think when you try them. Please let me know! It will be so nice to have a piece of Iceland home with you.

      Did you get to go horseback riding? I am heading over to your blog after this since I see you have two new Iceland posts up. GO YOU!! You are on it. Vik definitely touched my heart.

  4. Amazing as always. After reading your blog I am always hyped to go wherever you are writing about. Love love love this post. And you look gorge!

  5. I tried the Viking beer when I was there and really liked it. Also had a drink at the Blue Lagoon swim up bar. I want to go back to Iceland!

  6. I’d love to try the blueberry liquor too! I’ve actually tried to make some myself but it didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped. I think I need to travel to Iceland soon to learn how to make it right 🙂

    1. I never even thought of making my own liquor. That sounds like fun, although I would probably just make a sticky mess.

      I just read that you can make wine in an InstaPot so the doors are opening up for me, ahaha!!

    1. I’m heading to Germany in a couple months! And I have a 21-hour layover in Iceland on the way back so I’m hoping to come across that blueberry liqueur! Definitely going to Blue Lagoon but won’t have time for too much else. It sounds like I’ll need to plan a real Iceland trip later at some point. 🙂

      1. Can’t wait to hear about your Germany trip. We only scratched the surface, but it was totally worth it for the Christmas markets.

        I am so glad that you are doing the Blue Lagoon during your layover. You will feel so refreshed.

        The Blueberry liqueur is made in Reykjavik so you should be able to get it. The swim-up Blue Lagoon bar probably won’t have any, but maybe the inside area will. Most restaurants with a full bar service seemed to carry some sweet goodness from that particular distillery too. I might write up a small Reykjavik post. You can definitely enjoy the city in a short time.

        1. I can’t wait! I’m going with my husband, his brother, and my sister. We were on the fence about the Blue Lagoon, but my sister and I read your Blue Lagoon article and you settled the debate for us. 🙂

          1. I’m so nervous that you will not like the Blue Lagoon! BUT, even if you don’t, I think you guys will appreciate going at least once–it’s a classic. I know that I am so glad I didn’t skip out, and if I’m ever back that way, I will definitely book the Blue Lagoon again. My husband even loved it, and that’s not necessarily his scene. It’s hard not to love beautiful blue water that makes you feel so refreshed. Can’t wait to hear what you think about it.

  7. Oh my god you seriously made me laugh out loud when you just casually slipped in info about the penis museum again! ? Whoa…what a pic!

    I loved this post! I totally want to go drinking throughout Iceland now. I want ALL the beer and I want to try that blueberry port. I also want to watch birds and the falls while I drink. Loved this!

    Oh! I googled Birkir Bjarnason, but I won’t say that he’s yummy because I’m not like that. ?

    1. I had to, gahahaha!!! The penis museum was so popular on IG, and then everyone kept messaging me about it. I couldn’t resist. Plus, it has the perfect boozy gear.

      I wish I had more time in Iceland to tour the distilleries. We had so much planned and were driving a lot–which made drinking pretty slim. In the evenings, though, I enjoyed tasting all of the Iceland drinks. Bartenders were extremely nice to let me sip/try some beverages too without ordering full glasses. Kathy, you, and I need a drinking in Iceland tour ASAP plus some more Northern Lights.

      You Googled him, HAHAHA. I LOVE THAT even more!

    1. Haha, this is true: Iceland is getting wildly popular!

      Viking beer is literally everywhere. I avoided the golden stuff for half of the trip but then thought that I’d be a failed blogger if I didn’t at least taste some. I try not to judge my booze too much before sipping it ; )

  8. 1989?! That’s crazy. What interesting history! I am always baffled when I hear something like this was prohibited up to some point in my lifetime. Nuts.

    So I’d try everything on this list, but the Brennivín. Anything that tastes like licorice and is compared to Sambuca is not for me. I do not like that taste. I do love the sound of the blueberry port! I’d sip on a small serving of that. Enzo would love and appreciate this list too! Too bad he can’t have any. Oh well. If we ever make it, I’ll just have to try it all for him and report back LOL. Is that mean?

    Great post1

    1. Isn’t that absolutely wild? 1989! I couldn’t believe it. I find this to be the case with many political issues, though. Even major events decades before I was born still seem so close.

      Brennivín is definitely an acquired taste. It seemed a little wheat-y too. The Blueberry liquor was delicious.

      Try it all and report back to me! Enzo can get a giant burger at the Vik Brewery.

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