1 oz Aquavit, North Shore
1 oz Gin, Uncle Val's Botanical
1⁄2 oz Bénédictine

Stir, strain, chilled cocktail glass.


For a less spice driven flavor, use a more traditional Aquavit. Very complex with multiple layers or flavors and aromas.


This recipe lead me to being a finalist for the 2013 Uncle Val's Best Botanical Gin Contest held at the Night Club & Bar Show in Las Vegas.
Also just named one of Gaz Regan's 101 Best New Cocktails of 2014.

Cocktail summary
Picture of A Simple Quandary
2011 Kindred Cocktails
Created by
Scott Diaz, Seattle, WA
Is the
author's original creation
Not yet rated
4 stars
(25 ratings)
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From other users
  • A solid stirred offering, as expected. Made with Brenevín. I'd like to try again with an aquavit with more spice/intensity. — ★★★
  • Sweet, but the herbal flavors keep it from being too cloying. — ★★★★
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Congratulations, Scott, on Gaz's 101 Best New Cocktails 2014. I just got the newsletter from Gaz, read the recipe, and thought, "Hey, that sounds familiar...."

Thanks very much, it was neat to be added a second time in 2 years.  I recommend trying this with other more "traditional" aquavit as well.  Cheers!

A very, very nice cocktail. Aquavit can often overpower other ingredients in a cocktail, resulting in a drink with a somewhat unpleasant taste. This recipe overcame that problem with the use of a botanical gin (my two favorites being The Botanist and St. George Terroir Gin; each has a different taste, but both are spectacular) Tonight I used St. George and I also used Blood Orange bitters instead of Regan's No. 6; I also used a grapefruit twist (my twist--no pun intended--as an additional garnish) This cocktail deserves all of the accolades it has received.
P.S. One user found A Simple Quandary "sweet." If a botanical gin is used, there is no way this cocktail can be sweet; in fact, with the combination of Aquavit and Benedictine, there is no way A Simple Quandary can be "sweet," regardless of the gin used.

Thanks for the compliment Michael.  This is definitely one of my favorite cocktails I've done over the years.  As for the sweetness, originally I used North Shore which has a heavy cumin spice notes to it, so it wasn't intended to be a sweet cocktail, but more savory spiced one.  Since then, I've adapted the recipe to use more balanced Aquavit such as Linie or even Krostad which make it far more accessible to most peoples palates.  Cheers.