It’s hard to pin down the essence of gotlandsdricke because the flavor varies from farm to farm and among different regions of Gotland.
However, there are some common features: Usually, it’s strong and sweet with a smoked character from traditionally smoked farmhouse malt, with low bitterness and a distinct woody and herbal presence from juniper, which helps to offset the sweetness. Commonly, in modern days, the use of baker’s yeast also lends a fruity, tart, and somewhat phenolic taste.
Local farmers make the smoked malt of Gotland, drying it with alder or birch smoke. It typically makes up about 50 percent of the grain bill, with commercial base malts making up the rest. There are, however, brewers who use up to 100 percent farmhouse malt—or those who use only base malt.