Bee Box: Fete #6 Summer, Salmon, and Skoal

Skoal-ling is a Scandinavian toast to health, life and aquavit (or vodka). It also involves shots. Lots of them.

It’s a mild 20 degrees in Sweden right now. That temperature is in Celsius, but double that 20 and add 30, and you get its rough equivalency in Fahrenheit. (I can’t believe I remember this from elementary school.)

The only place it’s 70 degrees in Richmond is inside. But who wants to have an inside party in the summertime? That means way too much cleaning. It means missing the opportunity to snap bathing suit photos of your BFF cavorting in a whale-shaped, blow-up swimming pool. No ice luge, no grain and Kool- Aid popsicles. I think I’ve made my point.

If that elementary math problem has you expecting a family friendly kid party plan —stop reading now.

The idea behind a Skoal party is to take a simple toast and personalize it with as many people as you can. Skoal-ling is a Scandinavian toast to health, life and aquavit (or vodka).

Here is how to do it:

  1. Locate drinking partner
  2. Fill shot glass
  3. Make eye contact with your partner, say “Skoal” without breaking eye contact, toss whole shot back

The initial, cheesy feelings will go away after a couple of shots and then the toasting gets fun. Try variations on how you toss back the shot, different accents while saying “skoal”, and hone your best to-the-bedroom stare. Then move away as soon as you make the shot. Locking eyes with another person and communicating non-verbally is a high of its own.

There are a few things you’ll need to set the mood:

  1. Fill your iPod with a range of Scandinavian music from the trippy Bjork to the guitar-heavy Hammerfall.
  2. If you are serving shots, make sure to serve food. Gravlax is perfect with spirits. (I make my own. It’s much cheaper.) Serve with good quality dark bread, such as whole wheat, rye or multigrain and farmhouse butter.
  3. Several flavors of freezer- chilled vodka on ice stands (I ask guests to bring a bottle and if they aren’t traveling far, give them the instructions below in advance.)

How to make an ice stand

You will need:

  • Fifth of booze ( I stick to savory flavors, such as pepper, caraway or lemon- infused vodka, but subtle fruit vodkas, such as currant, are fun too. )
  • Empty 12 oz coffee can


Fill clean, empty coffee can 1/3rd full of water and freeze. This will be the frozen “base”
your booze will rest on, so make sure it freezes evenly. If you want the ice to appear clear when frozen, use filtered water. Once frozen, insert the bottle of vodka into the coffee can and fill the can to the 2/3rds point with water. Make sure to leave some room at the top for expansion. Freeze again.

To remove the icy vodka from the coffee can, dip the can into hot water. The bottle and ice block will pop right out.


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Genevelyn Steele

Genevelyn Steele mixed her first drink, a “Pink Squirrel”, at age six. Dubbed a natural, she was quickly enlisted to bartend at her parents’ soirees.

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