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Vana Tallinn, the rum-based goodness that is a popular and well-loved Estonian liqueur, deserves some attention from drinkers everywhere. With roughly 60% of sales to the international market, maybe you’ve heard of this spirited beverage before, but if not, dive in to learn more.
With a bottle designed to mimic the famed castle walls of Old Tallinn, a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vana Tallinn is automatically intriguing. The base recipe involves a clever mixture of Jamaican rum and a proprietary blend of other ingredients, such as citrus oil, cinnamon, and vanilla. According to the producer, “The exact recipe of Vana Tallinn is a closely guarded secret. Vanilla pods, orange and citrus oils mixed with rum give the drink a velvety flavour that’s both unique and exotic”.
While it has been billed as a traditional drink, Vana Tallinn has actually only been produced since the 1960’s. It’s easily accessible in not only the Baltic region, including Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, but also Finland, Russia, Ukraine, Japan, the United States, and more.
Pro tip: on your next Estonian adventure, try the tasty spirit on hot, roasted nuts in the Upper Town of Tallinn, where multiple carts exist near breathtaking vantage points. It’s a sweet way to enjoy a morning touring the picturesque Old Town.
The original, aka the classic Vana Tallinn, comes in three strengths, 40% (80 proof), 45% (90 proof), and 50% (100 proof). There are also numerous iterations featuring different spice blends and unique additions. One of these is Vana Tallinn Winter Spice, which is 70 proof and adds warming spices like anise, nutmeg, and cardamom for the perfect cold weather sip. Of the rest of the seasonal collection, the Vana Tallinn Glögi, stands out as an inspired blend of the original concoction and “Glogg”, traditional spiced wine enjoyed at the amazing Tallinn Christmas Market, often voted the best in Europe.
The Vana Tallinn Cream Collection is Estonia’s answer to Bailey’s, as it’s best enjoyed added to a cup of coffee. Flavors like marzipan cream embrace Estonia’s unique culinary heritage, while Ice Cream and chocolate versions add extra decadence to every bottle. Additionally, there is a prime collection that rests at a higher price point and features the Heritage, Signature, and Elegance brands.
Over the years, the Vana Tallinn line of products has been recognized with many industry awards, including gold, silver, and bronze medals at The International Wine and Spirit Competition.
Try the classic Vana Tallinn in the Baltic version of the Aperol Spritz, the “Vana Tallinn Spritz”. Simply fill a glass with ice, add the liqeuer, then top with lemon juice and sparkling water; garnish with a slice of orange or orange peel twist. For an extra celebratory blend, consider a “Royal Tallinn”, which combines your favorite sparkling wine with a Vana Tallinn sinker. Another delectable offering is this version of an “Espresso Martini that uses both classic Vana Tallinn and Vana Tallinn Coffee Cream. For even more cocktail ideas, check out this page.
It’s easy to see that Vana Tallinn belongs in your home bar, at your favorite watering hole, and on your list to try on an eventual visit to Estonia’s charming capital of Tallinn.