Cranberry is one of the most popular raw materials for liqueurs. This berry, which grows in the swamps of the northern countries, does suit everyone because of its sour and bitter taste. However, the strong and tart taste is well suited for liqueurs. Even if there is a lot of sugar used, the acidity of cranberries balances out and cranberry liqueurs are rarely too sweet. Cranberries are quite hard to pick from the swamp, so it is also grown in the field, as well as blueberries and many other berries. The cranberries grown are usually larger in size and not as aromatic as those naturally grown in the swamp.
The products of the Estonian Koch Distillery have already been featured many times in this blog and cranberry liqueur is the last unreviewed product in their Elixir series. Koch advertises that cranberry liqueur is made by traditional methods of extracting whole berries in a rectified spirit. Usually, the cheapest liqueurs made in Estonia are mixed with juice, water, liquor and sugar. Koch Elixir cranberry liqueur in a 35 cl bottle costs about 5 € in Estonia.
The smell is dominated by cranberry as you might expect, but it is not too flashy. The color of the liqueur is just right, pale red, which is what you can expect the end result to be without added colorants. The mouthfeel is semi-thick, clearly liqueur-like, but not syrupy sticky. The taste is full-bodied, slightly sour and just rightly sweet. Slightly tart and sweet-sour, as you would expect cranberry liqueur to taste. The taste of the cranberry completely controls from start to finish and does not let any savor through. I feel like it has alcohol in it, but it doesn’t have any taste of ethanol.
Koch Elixir cranberry liqueur is at its best drinked neat and unlike liqueurs in general, it can be easily sipped without an oversweet disgusting effect. With ice cubes, the taste becomes too watery and juicy. At the bottom of the bottle is a fair layer of berry mass, which also reveals that the liqueur is not made from filtered juice. A little aesthetic inconvenience to the one who gets the last sip from the bottle.
Koch Elixir Cranberry is a successful product in all respects and a clear winner in the Elixir series liqueurs. The sugar content is just right, the taste is well balanced and pleasant, the cranberry tastes natural and there are no essences or other artificial nuances. The price of the liqueur is of course more expensive than in the liqueurs of Liviko and other Estonian manufacturers, but in this case Elixir Cranberry is worth every euro.