Guide to 10 of Iceland's Finest Drinks

Cosy pub in Reykjavík, Iceland

The land of fire and ice captures its reputation in its fine drinks. From smooth icy beers to fiery schnapps, there are plenty of unique beverages to tickle your tastebuds. Our guide includes some of the most popular alcoholic drinks, as well as Iceland’s specialities. 

To try the alcoholic (and non-alcoholic) drinks below, head to local bars, restaurants or the nearest Vinbudin, the retail chain of Icelandic liquor stores, to find them. 

1. Viking Beer 

Brewed at the Viking Brewery in Akureyri, this Icelandic beer has a rich history dating back to its origins in 1939. Its history and popularity have managed to secure a significant ¼ share of the Icelandic beer market. Both locals and tourists contribute to its stellar reputation. 

Its notes are distinctive with flavours of caramel and coffee; a brew that offers a unique and enjoyable taste experience.

Water pouring from a tap

2. Icelandic Water

If you didn’t think that water would make it onto the finest drinks in Iceland's list, then prepare to be surprised. Icelandic water is renowned for its exceptional purity. Nothing is added or taken away from the water in Iceland, and it remains some of the most naturally pure in the world. It’s so sought-after that many brands are bottling Icelandic water and shipping it internationally. 

3. Brennivín

Brennivín (a.k.a the black death), a clear and unsweetened Icelandic schnapps with a 37.5% alcohol content, is considered the national drink of Iceland. The very name "Brennivín" translates to "burning wine," and it is typically served cold as a shot, alongside a beer, or as a base for various cocktails. Its history is fascinating and dates back to Iceland’s prohibition. 


4. Reyka Vodka

If schnapps and beer aren’t something you are interested in, then Icelandic vodka may appeal. Reyka Vodka, distilled from wheat and barley, boasts a unique origin, utilizing water from a 4,000-year-old lava field and sustainable geothermal energy for its production. Brewed in one of the coldest places on Earth, Reyka Vodka embodies the essence of Iceland in each sip.

5. Egils Sterkur/Gull  

With so many Icelandic beers on offer, a beer ban in Iceland seems far-fetched. Two more beers to try, Egils Sterkur and Gull, are contrasting options. Sterkur is favoured by locals for its robust 6.2% alcohol content, though its taste leans slightly towards bitterness. On the other hand, Gull, with its lighter 5% alcohol content, offers a sweet flavour profile. Featuring citrus notes and a malty taste, Gull sports a captivating golden hue. Give them a try while in the country and decide which you prefer.



Topas is a distinctive Icelandic liquor. Crafted from a blend of various herbs and liquorice, the result is sweet yet robust. It possesses a unique taste, reminiscent of candy for locals and cough syrup for those less accustomed to its distinct flavour. Give it a try at a bar in Reykjavík.


7. Fjallagrasa Moss Schnapps

Fjallagrasa Moss Schnapps is a traditional Icelandic drink consisting of ocean moss soaked in an alcoholic solution. Fermented naturally without any added artificial ingredients, this beverage has been used for generations by Icelanders as a remedy for colds and coughs, making it more than just a drink for enjoyment but also a healing elixir. 


8. Opal

Opal is a syrupy sweet Icelandic liqueur characterised by a balanced yet assertive aniseed undertone. Derived from a specific liquorice brand, Opal's familiar flavour has made it one of the most beloved drinks in Iceland.



Beers in different types of glasses on a wooden table.

9. Kaldi Beer

Despite its relatively short history, Kaldi Beer has quickly risen to prominence since its inception in 2006. The Kaldi Blond is the top-selling bottled beer in Iceland. Known for its coppery, golden colour, smooth texture, and tantalising, bitter taste derived from roasted malt, Kaldi is a favourite among beer enthusiasts.

10. Coffee

Across the world, there is a booming coffee culture and Iceland is no exception. Traditionally, coffee in Iceland is brewed in a drip coffee maker and either served black or with a splash of milk. You will find cafes across Iceland that do serve frothy espresso-based drinks if that’s what you desire, but Icelanders prefer it the simple way. 


If you’re hoping to head to Iceland and want to try the drinks in this guide, make sure you book yourself into our Hotel Saga in Reykjavík. Near the best bars and restaurants, you’ll immerse yourself in the culinary culture of Iceland without the worry of how to get around.