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Here’s how to make a Finnish Long Drink at home! It’s sweet tart, fizzy, and could not be more refreshing.

Finnish long drink
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Here’s a unique highball cocktail that we highly recommend giving a try: the Finnish Long Drink! This concoction of gin and usually grapefruit soda was invented in Finland in the 1950’s, and you can find it everywhere in country. It’s now becoming available canned in the US: but why not make it homemade? This spin is easy to make and so fizzy, sweet tart and refreshing, we couldn’t help but take another sip.

First, what’s a long drink?

A long drink is another name for a highball: a family of cocktails with a larger percentage of mixer than alcohol, usually a fruit juice or soda water. Typically they’re served over ice and often in a tall highball glass. Some famous long drinks? The Tom Collins, Long Island Iced Tea, or Screwdriver.

What’s a Finnish long drink?

The Finnish long drink (aka lonkero) is a highball cocktail served in Finland, a combination of gin and usually grapefruit soda. It was invented at the 1952 Summer Olympic Games in Finland: a stroke of genius by the government to tackle the problem of serving drinks to a massive crowd. It caught on and today is served all over Finland, often on tap at restaurants.

Today you can find a canned cocktail in the US called “The Finnish Long Drink.” It’s a company was created by former Finnish exchange students who wanted to bring the signature drink to the America. But the best way to taste a long drink? Make it homemade! This recipe is inspired by the Finnish concept, not a recreation of the canned cocktail. Here’s what’s in this Finnish long drink:

  • Gin
  • Lemon juice
  • Unsweetened cranberry juice (optional)
  • Grapefruit soda

Use grapefruit soda, or other flavors as desired

The most popular Finnish long drink is a mix of gin and grapefruit soda, but you can find other flavors like cranberry and lime. You should be able to find a grapefruit soda at your local grocery store, but if not you can opt for a lime soda. The grapefruit does lend a nice citrus balance, so we highly recommend finding it if at all possible.

Finnish long drink

Cranberry juice is optional

Cranberry juice is not required in a Finnish long drink, but it adds a nice counterpoint to the citrus of the grapefruit and adds a vibrant color. It comes out perfectly balanced, the ideal mix of sweet, tart, and bubbly! Make sure to find 100% unsweetened cranberry juice if you can. Bottles labeled “cranberry juice” or “cranberry juice cocktail” have added sugar. The unsweetened variety is key here!

How to make a Finnish long drink

Long drinks are some of the easiest cocktails to make: because most of them you can build in the glass! Instead of dirtying a cocktail shaker or mixing glass, simply pour each ingredient into the glass and enjoy. Here’s how to make a Finnish long drink:

  • Add 2 ounces gin and ½ ounce each lemon juice and unsweetened cranberry juice to an ice-filled highball glass.
  • Top with 4 ounces grapefruit soda. Enjoy!

If you’d like a cocktail bar look, serve the drink with clear ice: it’s crystal clear ice you can make at home and cut into organic shapes. It makes a highball, in our opinion!

Long drink

More long drinks

Looking for more long drinks? Here are a few of our top highball cocktails:

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Finnish long drink

Finnish Long Drink


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
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Description

Here’s how to make a Finnish Long Drink at home! It’s sweet tart, fizzy, and could not be more refreshing.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 ounces* gin
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce unsweetened cranberry juice (optional)
  • 4 ounces grapefruit soda
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice!)
  • Grapefruit wedge, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In an ice-filled highball glass, stir together the gin, lemon juice, and cranberry juice. Top with the grapefruit soda. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge, if desired. 

Notes

*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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5 Comments

  1. Soledad says:

    What gin brand do you recommend?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      We enjoy Malfy Originale for mixed drinks :)

    2. Pam says:

      I use Fresca as a mixer. It is a grapefruit flavored diet softdrink.
      Gin and Fresca is good low cal alt to Gin and Tonic so I’m sure it would work in your Finnish Long Drink Fresca is also good with wine, as a low cal wine cooler. I have also invented what my grown son dubbed the Pam Delight: Brandy, Amaretto and Fresca. Cheers

  2. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!