Drinks in Iceland are (almost) as varied as the landscapes. There's local spirits, yoghurt-y goodness, and the all-important festive favourites. Although forms of prohibition existed until 1989, most types of alcohol are now widely available all over the country in state-run liquor stores. However, alcohol can be expensive in Iceland so it can be more economical to stock up at the duty-free shop at Keflavik Airport.
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic, here is a list of drinks to keep an eye out for in Iceland.
If you’re feeling brave, try the local brew, Brennivin – a potent, traditional caraway-flavoured schnapps nicknamed ‘black death’. It's a signature spirit of Iceland, and has been drunk in the region since at least the 17th century, when Danish merchants starting importing it in large quantities. It can be mixed with cola, coffee or in a cocktail, but the ideal (and best) way to experience Brennevin is chilled, straight-up in a small shot glass. Skal!
Not only is Skyr one of the must-try things to eat in Iceland, it also comes in drink form! This yoghurt-like Icelandic speciality is stocked in convenience stores across the country, and the 'drykkur', or drink (as well as regular Skyr), can be purchased plain, or in a series of fruit flavours, including blueberry, mango & passionfruit and apple & raspberry.
A quite recent addition to Icelandic drinks lists, Reyka is a brand of vodka that uses water drawn from a lava field to create a pure and unique distillation. The rock naturally filters the water, creating some of the most pure water on earth. It's perfect in a cocktail, or as it's so smooth and pure, drinking it by itself is always an option.
Beer was outlawed in Iceland all the way up until the late 1980s, but is now available in bars and liquor stores around Iceland. Find a pack of the classic Viking Gold or refreshing Einstock White Ale at one of the government-run liquor stores dotted around the country or pick up a supply at Keflavik Airport, duty-free, which will save you quite a bit of money.
Malt og Appelsin
This concoction combining two of Iceland's most well-known soft drinks is a popular drink to enjoy at Christmas. The malty sweet soda Malt and sparkling orange drink Appelsin are paired to make a fizzy, chocolate-brown refreshment. It sometimes comes pre-mixed, called Jolabland, and although only very slightly alcoholic, it's a sugar overload for the country's darkest and coldest season.
It's important to stay hydrated while travelling in Iceland. We recommend packing a reusable bottle so you can drink some of the famously pure water as you travel.
Our tours in Iceland