Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Tuesday Tasting: Vana Tallinn
Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we try some liqueur direct from the Baltic Sea.
In a recent Tuesday Tasting I mentioned that occasionally friends will bring me a bottle of something that I've never previously experienced. This time Eric Mower brought me a bottle of "likoor" from Estonia where he had gone to speak to a marketing conference. It was a get well gift after my recent surgery and a nice one indeed.
Vana Tallinn is a traditional drink of Estonia and popular throughout the Baltic countries. It packs a stealth punch in a pleasant package. The Vana Tallinn I sampled was 80 proof. Liviko also distills 90 proof and 100 proof varieties, plus a 32 proof cream liqueur.
The most important thing I can say about Vana Tallinn is that I would have never guessed it was as strong as 80 proof because all of the flavors and spices mask the alcohol.This is a dangerous shooter. You could be forgiven for thinking you were drinking a liqueur that is half as strong.
That said, this is a very distinctive and satisfying drink. It has an attractive reddish brown color. The first aroma out of the bottle is citrus, but the overall flavor is dominated by cinnamon with hints of vanilla and a touch of orange peel. The vanilla starts to take control of the fragrance the longer you linger over the drink.
You can sip Vana Tallinn as a nightcap or serve it on the rocks with some cream. It also is used in a number of mixed drinks, but you should try it neat to start.
If your travel plans do not call for a trip to the Baltic nations, you now are in luck. Matrics Importing has justed started bringing Vana Tallinn into the U.S. It is in limited distribution at the moment in Illinois and Maryland.