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Salmiakki Koskenkorva is a derivative of the popular Finnish spirit, Koskenkorva, produced by dissolving strong salted licorice (salmiakki in Finnish) into the clear 38% vol. (76 proof) liquor, making a sweet drink and disguising the raw alcohol flavor. The brand name is owned by Primalco Ltd. Salmiakki Koskenkorva, also known as "Salmiakkikossu" or "salmari" in Finland, was introduced in the early 1990s and soon became a huge success - in the beginning of March 1993 it reached the weekly sales of 50 000 bottles. "Salmari" was especially popular among teenagers, which was the main reason its sales were almost instantly prohibited by the Finnish parliament. People were forced to brew home-made Salmiakki Koskenkorva until the prohibition was lifted in 1995. The drink is still very popular in Finland, especially in restaurants as a 4 cl shot. Several competing products have also surfaced in Scandinavia and one in Netherlands.

Here's how to make your own Salmiakki Koskenkorva:

Warm a small amount of water in a kettle and add a sufficient amount of crushed salted licorice candies (I prefer Tyrkisk Peber for their hot taste). Take the kettle from heat to avoid burning your mixture and stir for a few minutes or until most of the candies are dissolved into a thick black solution. Let the stuff cool for a while and pour it into a bottle with the Koskenkorva liquor (any unflavored vodka will do in case you Koskenkorva supplies are running short). Shake the bottle to distribute the salmiakki evenly in the liquid and you're done. You can experiment with the amount of candies to produce drinks of different flavor and thickness. Hint: Very thick Salmiakkikossu can be used as an excellent ice cream topping.

Sources of information:
Aktivist: Helsinki in English from A to Z: http://www.aktivist.fi/inenglish/k.html
Vammala High School Third Grade Annual Chronicle of 1993: http://www.students.tut.fi/~jury/tekstit/kronikka.html

This stuff is potentially lethal, more than regular alcohol in inexperienced hands, so it was pulled off the market for a while. It simply had too big a number in vol% and too small a number in the price tag. Later it came back with less alcohol and a higher price. Because salmiakki hides the taste of alcohol, it is too easy to drink too much of it. It is also very salty (salmiakki, not table salt). If you drink the whole bottle and no water, you may die of dehydration, not only because the stuff is salty, but because alcohol is a diuretic.

The stuff sold in Alko doesn't taste as good as if you make it yourself. Alko's salmari is watery, not anything like "Flakpanzer fuel", and its taste is like industrial carpeting. It has only 32% alcohol. If you make it yourself from Tyrkisk Peber, it's like drinking the candy. It's so good it's dangerous.

To make it yourself, you need two bags of Tyrkisk Peber and a sufficient amount of pure spirit or vodka. Make a saturated solution of the crushed candies into water. Heating it up will help. Mix this thick black fluid, water and alcohol to get a 40% to 60% alcohol solution. Koskenkorva can be used, but then there is less freedom to choose the alcohol content.

Also a good way to make some home made "salmari" is to pulverize Tyrkisk Peber (mentioned in vuos WU) and pour it to bottle of Koskenkorva. Then put the bottle to a dishwasher. High temperature of water does the trick.

Of course this is meant to do with several bottles and for example in restaurants...

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