Monday, April 29, 2019

A Finnish Drink That Makes You Say Cheers - Kippis!

By Pinny Tam 

One of my favorite pastime activities is to attend wine tasting events, especially the ones that are hosted in large cities like New York. Almost always, I’ll see and taste some new alcoholic beverages that are so unique and memorable! My new scout is the Finnish Long Drink, which I tasted multiple times at the New York City Wine Fest in April this year, and got some samples from The Long Drink Company for a follow-up tasting after. This cocktail in a can is something I have never tasted before. First, let's hear the national pride story behind this "Tiffany" blue can!

New York City Wine Fest April 2019
The roots of long drinks go back to the 1952 Summer Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland. The country of four million people was still poor and recovering from World War II, but wanted to give athletes and tourists from all over the world who came to the games an unforgettable experience. To serve drinks quickly enough to all the visitors, the Finns came up with a revolutionary idea of a new liquor drink, and the first long drinks were born. Long drinks continued to evolve from being mixed as cocktails originally in tall glasses, to cans for easy distribution and convenient enjoyment.  
Logo for the Games of the XV Olympiad
What’s in The Long Drink? In this Finnish canned cocktail, it presents the most traditional long drink flavor from the nation and contains the same amount of liquor like how it's made in a glass. It's a carbonated soda with an alcohol kick, which is a nice mix of natural grapefruit, juniper berries and gin with an ABV of 5.5%. What makes this drink so unique? Well, aside from being refreshing, it tastes very “clean” - mildly sweet, tangy grapefruit taste without overwhelmingly tart plus crisp gin. The most interesting ingredient in this drink is probably juniper berries which have the distinct botanical flavor. After you pop the can open, pour it over ice and have a sip of this ice-cold carbonated Long Drink.  Aaah…a fizzy thirst-quencher!
I would say the Long Drink probably goes well with a lot of different types of food, but no doubt in my mind, this is a drink made for Chinese food such as casual Chinese take-out - chicken fried rice, stir-fried vegetable medley, sweet and sour sesame chicken and spicy Kung Pao chicken... the drink is bubbly, tangy, light, yet a tad herby which makes it go so well with all this hearty, saucy, spicy, fried, and delicious food– a drink that is versatile and makes everyday meals fun!
I had a chit-chat with Ere Partanen, Co-founder of The Long Drink Company to get more food tips for his drink: 
Ere Partanen, Co-founder, The Long Drink Company
Pinny Tam: I think the refreshing taste of the Long Drink will go really well with spicy Asian food like Ma Po Tofu or pork bulgogi. What do you think?

Ere Partanen: Couldn’t agree more! I myself am a huge fan of Chinese food – we have some great restaurants in Finland also. I think Long Drink is a great refreshment between and after spicy Asian food.

PT: I know the Long Drink is a popular drink in crayfish parties in Finland. What other seafood will go well with this Drink?

EP: My personal favorite is European perch rolled in rye flour and fried in salty butter. Boiled potatoes on the side with some crème fraiche. Lots of great flavors that go very well in hand with Long Drink!

PT: Summer is fast approaching. Will there be any promotional events that feature the Long Drink in NYC?

EP: Yes there will be. We are partnering up with many venues over the summer and there’s something going on every weekend. A few of the bigger events that are in the lineup are: 
  • 5th Annual Brooklyn Crush Spring Edition, May 11th
  • Montauk Music Festival, May 16th-19th
  • 5th Annual North Fork Crush Wine & Artisanal Food Festival, June 22nd
  • Montauk Beach House, July 13th
You probably won’t have much left-over when you eat your take-out with this drink. But in case you do, enjoy the left-over with more Long Drink. Kippis – Cheers! It's all good.

Disclosure: The Long Drink in this post are samples. All opinions are my own.

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