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I’m a KOMBOs snapsegilde | I'm A Kombo

I’m a KOMBOs snapsegilde

A journal of making – DIY snaps (schnapps)
Aalborg BASIS X I’m a KOMBO
From nothing but alcohol in a jar to a delicious, fun and playful experience

Introduction – keeping it real short.
This summer, on the hottest day of the year, we met up with Morten and Claus from Aalborg Akvavit, – a historic Danish distillery, established in eighteen hundred and something. One hundred and fifty years after they made their first brew, they have recently launched BASIS, – a DIY product allowing the consumer to flavour their own snaps. Speaking of snaps, we had brought along two home flavoured and interactive interpretations of BASIS to make the conversation flow. A couple of shots later, we agreed on collaborating.
Syringe with essence of chili in jar lid. A social interaction design making large group of people agree on how spicy they want it before cheering)
Aalborg BASIS is a non-flavoured organic 35% alcohol base that is sold in a 50CL glass jar. The concept is that you buy one, open it up, add your flavour, reseal, subtract the flavour over time, try it as it develops, decide when it’s great and finally serve it to your friends and family. The packaging design allows the consumer to keep up with when and what you have done and write what’s added on the label. It comes with an extra lid with an integrated spout for pouring straight.
We were commissioned to do exactly this and a little more. As of December 1st 2016, we are presenting and selling our work in Prolog Coffee Bar in the Copenhagen meatpacking district.
Here is the story and recipes.
We started the project in the late summer of 2016, which gave us the possibility of spending time (about four months) extracting the flavours. You can do quicker flavouring at home (visit Aalborgs web page for inspiration). But time had made us ambitious and therefore we decided on using it as much as we could, ageing our extractions. It all began with some kids picking green walnuts.
Name : GRØN VALNØD (green walnut)
Extraction of unripe walnuts picked from a tree in Northern Zealand, Denmark
Name : RÆVESOVS (sauce gravad lax)
Extraction of dill stems, green coriander seeds, coriander roots from Birkemosegaard + yellow mustard and brown sugar.
Name : JULEMAND (santa)
Extraction of nothing. Silver added to create snow effect when shaking.
Name : SNEMAND (snowman)
Extraction of sugar and mint.
Name : COWBOY KAFFE (puncheon)
Extraction of Kainamui coffee beans roasted by Prolog Coffee Bar
Name : SMØRKARAMEL (butter caramel)
Extraction of organic salted butter and caramelised sugar
Name : JULETRÆ X JALAPENOS (Christmas trees and jalapeños)
Extraction of pine tree needles and fermented jalapeños
Pick and clean green walnuts (ours were picked late July) and cover with BASIS. Soon after the process has started, the liquid will turn black. Do not fear – that’s a good sign. Extract for about 3-5 months and filtrate before serving. The result should be a beautiful dark brown full-bodied snaps with flavour of walnuts.

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Our recipe is as follows:
188 pcs. green walnuts
22,5 liters of BASIS
Production date : 1st of August 2016
Filtration date: 28th of November 2016
Rævesovs, directly translated to ‘fox sauce’, is a traditional Scandinavian sauce used for dressing gravad lax. We had our friends from the organic farm Birkemosegaard (LINK) pick the dill and coriander, when the two plants were at its best in the middle of September. After cleaning, we added yellow mustard seeds and brown sugar.
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Our recipe is as follows.
300 grams of dill stems
140 grams of yellow mustard
125 grams of brown sugar
85 grams of coriander roots
110g grams of green coriander seeds
21,5 litres of BASIS
Production date: 23rd of September 2016
Filtration dates: Coriander roots and seeds on the 28th of September. Mustard and dill on the 25th of November.
No Christmas popup shop of any kind without Santa. Inspired by snow globes, silver is added to the snaps and Santa is placed inside. Shake and drink.
empty snowglobe isolated on blue - reflection

empty snowglobe isolated on blue – reflection

Our recipe is as follows:
Porcelain figure of Santa glued on to lid
2g of silver
0,5 litres of BASIS
Production date: 28th of November 2016
Filtration dates: –
No winter without building a snowman. We have joined forces with The Danish National team of pastry and they have moulded our snowmen of glucose sugars and mint oils. The concept is that you pour on the snaps yourself and let the snowman melt.
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Our recipe is as follows:
75g of glucose and sugar caramel
5 drops of peppermint
0,5 litres of BASIS
Production date: The day you pour on the snaps.
Filtration date: Do not filtrate. Drink when snowman is melted.
Recently we joined forces with two young guys, who were dreaming of opening a high quality coffee shop with great service. We had the space and they had talent, so soon after meeting them for the first time, we opened Prolog Coffee Bar – a tasty 3rd wave speciality coffee bar with gypsy roasting. The guys have not looked back ever since and Prolog is now one of the most wanted on the ‘must try’ coffee list of Copenhagen. One of the beans that have passed the porta filter is Ethiopian Kainamui. It’s perfect for infusion and the result is surprisingly rich and great.
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Our recipe is as follows:
1 kilo of lightly roasted Kainamui coffee beans (Prolog)
24 liters of BASIS
Production date: 3rd of October 2016
Filtration date: 3rd of November 2016
A few years back, we met a Parisian mixologist who had brought along a bottle of Bourbon infused with butter – it was tasty, rich and fun. When planning our flavour line, we settled on giving this a try in our snaps. Since the starting point is a neutral taste, we decided to sweeten it a bit with caramelised sugar and give it depth with extract of malt. We added this to the rich nutty flavour of browned butter, and our butter caramel snaps was born.
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Our recipe is as follows:
4,5 kilo of butter / 3,6 kilo when browned
900 grams of sugar (caramelised 160 degrees Celsius)
20 grams of malt extract
0,5 litres of water
22 litres of BASIS
Butter is caramelised until golden brown and chilled to room temperature. Sugar is cooked to 160 degrees Celsius and malt and water is added. Cook it until it becomes a syrup and chill to room temperature. Pour into snaps and leave in fridge for about a month. Freeze liquid and filtrate.
Production date: 3rd of October 2016
Filtration date: 10th of November 2016
Every year in December, we sell organic Christmas trees. It’s a joyful month and we love the atmosphere that the trees and the people who come to buy them generate. We always end up with a few to spare, and last year we decided to pick off the needles and use them in our cooking. From these needles we made a fermented hot sauce made in collaboration with Copenhagen mustard and hot sauce company (LINK) and now the ‘Juletræ og Jalapeños’ snaps. A snaps with the same ingredients and aged in an oak barrel (formerly used for beer production and later for fermenting the chillies).
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Our recipe is as follows:
300 grams of pine tree needles
100 grams of Acacia honey
20 litres of BASIS
Production date: 31st of August 2016
Filtration date: 28th of September 2016
Aged in cask: 12th of October – 30th of November 2016
A month before starting up the project, Maya Leroy arrived from Eindhoven Design School to be our design intern. Soon after settling in, we put her in charge of developing the packaging designs. The starting point was the 50cl. jars and basically that was the only thing left. The Aalborg logo is now combined with ours, and the labels have been removed to make space for our designs. Initially, we got dirty and we started cleaning the jars. To make it easier, we soaked the jars in a mixture of soda and warm water. Then we put them through the dishwasher and lastly we disinfected them before shipping them to Jysk Stempel for silk-screen printing. The silk-screen print leaves space for us to handwrite name, contents, alcohol percentage, production date etc. Then, a visual profile was designed for each flavour to create the final drinking experience.
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Here is a short presentation of the individual ideas and initial designs:
Two classic Aalborg Akvavit glasses are wrapped in brown paper with deep red bow and placed on top of the lid as a surprise to the customer when unwrapping at home.
The snaps is inspired by the traditional Danish salmon sauce called Rævesovs. It taste like Rævesovs, and we have hand molded a fox that is squashed (roadkill) underneath the jar. The lid is decorated with an orange vinyl sticker.
Santa is glued to the lid upside down and a snow globe effect is created with silver as the snow and the jar as the globe. Placed upside down.
In collaboration with The National Danish Pastry Team, we have designed a mint-flavoured snowman in sugar. The design is kept simple to make the craft stand out on it’s own.
There’s a hole for coins underneath the wax so that when you’ve finished drinking your snaps, you can peel the wax off and reuse the jar as a piggy bank to save up for another! The outer of the jar is decorated with the Prolog logo inverted, making it appear when emptying the jar.
The packaging is inspired by classic candy wrapping and tells a story about the sweetness of the content.
Sticker, candle and color all refers to a Christmass tree. The snaps is infusedwith real Christmas trees and spiced up with chili and aged in oak cask. The jar is decorated with plotted vinyl sticker that looks like pine tree needles. Furthermore, we have added a Christmas tree classic to the lid, a candlestick that holds a little candle.
In collaboration with Toke Design, we have developed a series of forged forks that fit in our existing display wall. Each fork is able to hold a jar lying down to create a better view of the designs and give reference to a wine cellar. The total display will hold 80 jars in rotation. When buying a bottle of snaps, you will receive an untouched BASIS, to make your own flavour and design at home. Both bottles are placed in a white paper bag stamped with QR code linking to this document and our collaborative logo.
There is no snaps or snapsegilde without a song and sing-along. In collaboration with a songwriter, we have created a fun song consisting of nine verses; an intro and outro and one customised for each flavour in between. The song will be written on the shop window and attached to each purchase and used for social media purposes.
It goes like this (DANISH) :
// melodi: sur sur sur
Snaps snaps snaps, Vi fra KOMBO haps
Aalborg basis I man svælge, hvilken én skal man dog vælge
Haps haps haps, prøv en KOMBO snaps
Haps haps haps – valnød i din snaps
Den har fået én på nøden, varmer godt, gir kinder gløden
Fås med kop – skål og bottoms up!
Haps haps haps – ræven løs vi slap
For med rævesovs i glasset, blir du skør og ter dig tosset
jul er cool – du blir ræve-fuld 
Haps haps haps – frisk på mynte-klaps? 
Der er smæk på pebermynte, snemanden på bunden pynte
lad det sne – mistelten succes!
Haps haps haps – cowboys og kollaps
tag en tår med kenya-bønne, fra Prolog som dig vil sende 
højt til hest – spar (op) til julefest!
Haps haps haps – sæt ild til din snaps.
Jalapenos gir den varme , som med gran blir fyr og flamme
stærk og go – styrker juletro.
Haps haps haps – sukkerlagret snaps
Snapsen har vi svøbt i lilla – Karamel som du blir fuld af
Blød som smør – smager gør dig ør!
Haps haps haps – julemand i snaps.
Smagen den er ikke liret, men med nissen den er gearet
ryst den godt – sølv gør julen flot!
Snaps snaps snaps, vi fra KOMBO haps
Julen ja den star for døren, skønne snapse smag for søren
Haps haps haps – prøv en KOMBO snaps
Besides the song on the window, it will feature our collaborative logo and opening times – most hand painted to emphasise the handmade and crafted theme.
To make the snaps as accessible as possible, the popup shop will be open weekdays from 7am to 6pm and in weekends from 9am to 6pm. If you choose to get here early, then don’t worry; the Prolog guys will have their beans and machinery ready for brewing.
Aalborg BASIS X I’m a KOMBO
C/O Prolog Coffee Bar
Høkerboderne 16
1720 Copenhagen V
As written before, each I’m a KOMBO X Aalborg BASIS snaps purchase will trigger a blank untouched BASIS for you to mix up at home. If you need further inspiration, visit their site for other quicker ways of creating your own tasty snaps. And if you follow their FaceBook, tickets for snaps master classes and workshops here in our kitchen will be featured shortly.
Thank you, Aalborg, for being gutsy enough to work with us. It’s been a widespread collaboration, not only between the two of us but with loads of different contributors. Some of them have broadened our horizon and others of them have been a pain in the ass at times. But all in all; thanks to you all. It’s stuff like this we (I’m a KOMBO / Co’ KOMBO) love to do and stuff like this that we believe makes it more fun to socialise. Thanks, Maya Leroy, for spending not only your past months in Denmark with us, but also to spend it like a true Dane with snaps. Thanks to all of you who have been helping, producing, selling and such.