By Swedish standards, Mikael Blomkvist doesn’t drink very much (and reportedly neither did Stieg Larsson). Early in Tattoo, Blomkvist drinks vodka until 2 am with the evil Martin Vanger—whom he doesn’t yet know is evil. In fact, he thinks him a relatively amiable Vanger, who loves cooking, vodka, and music. They talk, drink, and listen to the jazz classic Night in Tunisia (although Larsson doesn’t tell us if it is the original Dizzy Gillespie version, or one of the later versions by Art Blakey, Miles Davis, or Sarah Vaughan). In any event, Blomkvist stumbles home drunk after a pleasant evening.
Erika Berger, who also doesn’t drink much, is seen in Tattoo drinking Aberlour, a rare and distinctive single malt made at a mystical Scotland location that was once the home to Druids and later to early Christian monks who used the spring waters that now go into the local whisky for baptisms. In Hornet’s Nest, Gullberg drinks miniature Glenfiddich bottles from the minibar. When Blomkvist decides to camp out in Lisbeth’s penthouse apartment, he discovers a wine cellar with a single bottle—an unopened Quinta do Noval port from 1976 that sells for several hundred dollars a bottle today.
In the beginning of Fire, we see Lisbeth drinking rum and coke at Ella Carmichael’s bar in Grenada. She also drinks the occasional local Carib beer. Most of the time she sits alone with her drink and reads her math texts, trying to solve Fermat’s Last Theorem. Lisbeth is also said to favor the Irish whiskey, Tullamore Dew—a drink that does not require luxury budgets or tastes, although it has a premium single malt version. The official website for Tullamore Dew even sports a description of Stieg Larsson’s books and a quote about Lisbeth from Hornet’s Nest: “When she ordered whisky, she always chose Tullamore Dew.”
At the very end of Hornet’s Nest, Lisbeth is in Gibraltar, binge drinking Tullamore Dew and beer at Harry’s Bar, two blocks from her hotel. At one point she decides to try something else and, after staring at the bottles to narrow down her selection, she asks Harry for a shot of Lagavulin, a good quality but not particularly extreme premium single malt scotch. (Lagavulin is produced on the island of Islay in an area that has a storied past that goes back at least 800 years.) After a small sip of Lagavulin, Lisbeth decides it is awful stuff and returns to Tullamore Dew.