Salty liquorice

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Salty liquorice
Variety of salty liquorice/salmiak products. Clockwise from top left: Soft salmiak candies, Salmiakki Koskenkorva liqueur, Tyrkisk Peber candies, Salmiak Ice cream
Alternative names Salmiak, salmiakki
Type Liquorice
Main ingredients Liquorice, ammonium chloride
Cookbook: Salty liquorice  Media: Salty liquorice

Salty liquorice, also known as salmiak or salmiakki, is a variety of liquorice flavoured with ammonium chloride, common in the Nordic and Baltic countries, Netherlands, and Northern Germany.[1] Ammonium chloride gives salty liquorice an astringent, salty taste[2] (hence the name), which has been described as "tongue-numbing"[3] and "almost-stinging".[1] Salty liquorice is an acquired taste[1] and people not familiar with ammonium chloride might find the taste physically overwhelming and unlikeable.[4][1] Salty liquorice candies are almost always black or very dark brown and can range from very soft to very hard and may be brittle. The other colours used are white and variants of grey. Salty liquorice is also used as a flavouring in other products, such as ice creams and alcoholic beverages.


A sample of ammonium chloride which gives salty liquorice its distinctive flavour.

The words salmiak and salmiakki are derived from an archaic Latin name for ammonium chloride, sal ammoniacus, meaning "salt of Ammon". "Ammon" in turn refers to the temple of Ammon at Siwa Oasis, where ancient Greeks found ammonium chloride. The word ammonia has the same origin.[5] Ammonium chloride has a history of being used as a cough medicine as it works as an expectorant.[6] Finnish author Jukka Annala (fi) speculates that salty liquorice has its origins at drug stores which manufactured their own cough medicine.[7] Where and when ammonium chloride and liquorice were first combined to produce salty liquorice is unclear,[8] but by the 1930s it was produced in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands as a candy.[7]


Different languages often refer to salty liquorice as either "salmiac liquorice" (such as salmiaklakrits in Swedish, or salmiaklakrids in Danish), or simply "salty liquorice". The Dutch refer to it as "Zoute Drop". In addition to ammonium chloride, salty liquorice candies are sometimes flavoured with other strong flavours like table salt and pepper, as in the case of Tyrkisk Peber candies. In Germany there is a variety available that is silvered by a metal powder that, as a side effect, makes it electrically conductive[citation needed]. A common shape for salty liquorice candies is a black diamond-shaped lozenge.

The strength of the confectionery depends on the amount of ammonium chloride used, which varies by country and what's considered a safe amount. In Sweden for example, the most popular types of salty liquorice contain an average of 7% of ammonium chloride. In 2012 there was a European Union proposal to limit the amount to 0.3%, which was met with wide opposition. [9] Although the European Union now regulate the use of ammonium chloride to 0.3% in most foodstuffs, there is no specific restriction for it in liquorice or ice cream.[10]

Other uses[edit]

In addition to being used in candy, salmiak is also used to flavour vodka, chocolate, distilled rye brandy, ice cream, cola drinks, snus, and recently, meat.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Christine S. (8 August 2011). "In Salmiak Territory". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "Salammoniac: Salammoniac mineral information and data". Hudson Institute of Mineralogy. 
  3. ^ Gategaeo Itkonen (25 February 2010). "Culinary stink bomb". Helsinki Times. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Ritva Korpimo (16 March 2005). "Mämmi Maestro". Helsingin Sanomat. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. 
  5. ^ Benjamin M. Mills. "A-Level Textbooks: Section 13.8 Amines and amides". Archived from the original on 26 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "Winter Hazards". Hennepin County Medical Center. 2004. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Mistä johtuu, että salmiakki on herkkua vain Pohjoismaissa?". (in Finnish). Helsinki City Library. 17 October 2008. 
  8. ^ "Minun kuuluisi tehdä esitelmä Ranskassa salmiakista, enkä ole löytänyt tietoja...". (in Finnish). Helsinki City Library. 25 October 2008. 
  9. ^ Oskar Forsberg (12 October 2012). "Saltlakritsen räddad efter beslut i EU" (in Swedish). Aftonbladet. 
  10. ^ "Commission implementing regulation (EU) No 872/2012 of 1 October 2012 adopting the list of flavouring substances provided for by Regulation (EC) No 2232/96 of the European Parliament and of the Council". Official Journal of the European Union L267. 2 October 2012. In category 5 [confectionery] – quantum satis 


External links[edit]