Review: Hortus Pomegranate and Rose Gin Liqueur

There’s something about the famous (or rather, infamous) ‘middle aisles’ of Lidl that bring out the experimental side of even the most cynical person; how many times have you gone in for a pint of milk and some eggs only to come out with a new vacuum packing machine or something equally ridiculous? They are treasure troves hidden in plain sight, Lidl damn well knows it and are absolutely using it to their advantage. The benefit for us is that you can often find uncommon liqueurs and other alcoholic drinks for generally good prices. It’s worth buying or even stocking up on these drinks when you find them; although they do get repeated occasionally, it can be anywhere up to six months between stock refreshes.

With that in mind, after the resounding success of their earlier offerings, Lidl have just brought out their next big flavour in the Hortus range of gin liqueurs. Although they were originally intended as a limited edition item, the original 2 flavours – Rhubarb and Ginger Gin Liqueur and Raspberry Gin Liqueur, the former of which I wrote a review for in December 2017 – have since been adopted as mainstays in most of the stores across the country, leaving a new-unique-gin-liqueur sized hole in our lives – until now.

Enter stage left the Pomegranate & Rose Gin Liqueur.

I’m going to say this right now: if you don’t like rose, do not touch this with a ten foot pole. The rose flavour packs an absolute wallop, I’m talking a serious ‘hits you square in the face’ type flavour explosion from which there is no escaping. That being said, if you do like rose – like I do – then it’s practically your civic duty to go buy at least one bottle of this gin liqueur as soon as humanly possible. It’s just that good. The rose is floral and sweet, with a beautiful fragrance that telegraphs expectations of turkish delight flavours. The pomegranate element compliments the rose perfectly as the fruitiness cuts through the rose just enough to create a balance between the two. If anything, it’s like a pomegranate sandwich with rose bread; the rose hits your nose and taste buds first, followed by waves of the ever-so-slight tartness of pomegranate before culminating in a different rose flavour, this more sweeter than the first thanks to the inclusion of the pomegranate.

Just like the Rhubarb and Ginger Gin Liqueur from last year, the Pomegranate & Rose gin liqueur is another Lidl budget version of an Edinburgh Gin. Unfortunately, I can’t judge it against the original as I haven’t tried it yet – if I’m going to be completely honest, I hadn’t even known it was a thing until just under a week ago – but I doubt it’s going to be much better than this one. At £11.99 the Lidl version is roughly 25% cheaper than Edinburgh Gin and really, it’s hard not to justify buying it at that price!

Although the gin liqueurs released last year have become Lidl staples you may remember that there was a period where you couldn’t find them for love nor money, no matter how far you traveled or how early – or often – you went to the shop. Although I have seen the Pomegranate & Rose Gin Liqueur on sale every time I’ve been into Lidl this past week (yes, I have been in to multiple Lidl’s on more than one occasion this week. I’m a bit of a forgetful shopper) I wouldn’t take it for granted that it’s going to be there indefinitely. Even if it does find a permanent home on the shelves of your local Lidl, if it’s anything like the first 2 gin liqueurs it’ll be a few months before that happens and you’ll probably run out of it in the meantime. I’m already feeling the cold fear of an empty bottle, and I’ve just opened mine!

In terms of drinking it, the obvious suggestion is neat or over ice. It’s very enjoyable and an easy drinker, but possibly too sweet to enjoy fully in large quantities so I would recommend drinking it slowly and serving it chilled. If you want to enjoy it in a slightly longer drink, it works well with either lemonade for a thirst quenching drink, or prosecco for a celebratory twist.

We’ve designed some cocktails recipe for you to try that range in sweetness, sharpness and subtlety. As the rose flavour is – in my opinion – the most important part, we’ve tried to complement that flavour in particular. So, without any further ado, here are the original Geek and Tonic recipes:

Secret Garden

Inspired by and named for the famous children’s novel, the Secret Garden is a decidedly adult drink. By combining the sweet and floral Hortus gin liqueur with Opihr’s Oriental Spiced Gin, this cocktail features not just sweet, floral notes but also a playful spiced background that adds depth to the flavour profile. Unlike the Konya, it’s a subtle flavour – almost smoky with just a hint of savoury – and compliments the fruitiness from the pomegranate and it’s this subtlety that makes it an easy drinker for all manner of occasions. Barbecue? Perfect, make a couple of pitchers. Dinner party? Bring it on. Girls night in? Let’s do this. No matter the situation, the complex layering of flavours in this cocktail means it’ll work wonders and it’ll definitely surprise anyone you give it to.

This is one that you genuinely need to try for yourself.

5/5

The Recipe

♦  1 ½ ounces Pomegranate & Rose Gin Liqueur

♦  1 ounce Opihr

♦  2 ounce pomegranate juice

♦  1 ounce orange juice

♦  ½ ounce cranberry juice

Dash of Grenadine

Dash of lime juice

As usual, shake all the ingredients together and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. This is quite a big drink at 6 ounces, so make sure you account for that!


The Konya

Just like the liqueur itself, the first thing that hits you with this cocktail is the wonderful floral fragrance of rose. The rose flavour itself also hits you on the first sip (the Yorkshire lass inside me almost wrote that as sup, but I’ll use proper English I guess… 🙁 ) just like the aroma, but after a few moments you’re treated to a tart, almost dry, citric flavour courtesy of the lime that cuts through the sweetness of the pomegranate and cranberry quite nicely. This is a sour drink more than anything, but would be a perfect accompaniment to a sickly sweet dessert as I can guarantee it’ll cut through any sweetness you throw at it.

Just don’t expect to be able to drink more than one in quick succession!

3/5

The Recipe

♦  1 ½ ounces Pomegranate & Rose Gin Liqueur

♦  1 ounce white rum

♦  1 ½ ounces cranberry juice

♦  ½ ounce lime juice

Shake all the ingredients together and serve in a chilled martini glass.


It’s Pomegranate

This one is the brain child of my husband who has a bit of a sweet tooth when it comes to cocktails. I gave him the honour of naming the drink but after an hour he declared ‘It’s pomegranate, I don’t know, you name it!’. So, in typical British stubbornness I decided the name would be ‘It’s Pomegranate’. Dear husband mine, if you’re reading this I hope you understand that you had it coming 🙂

This drink has heavy pomegranate flavours, but what do you expect with 2 ounce of pomegranate juice in addition to the Pomegranate & Rose liqueur? Somehow, even with the Grenadine, it manages to avoid becoming cloying which I can only attribute to the inclusion of a small amount of lemon juice. The rum adds provides gentle heat to also combat the sweetness which results in a very enjoyable cocktail experience. It is still sweet though, so I would recommend having it as an after dinner drink and not an apertif. Definitely worth trying though!

I can honestly say, hand on heart, I have never used the word ‘pomegranate’ as much as I have in this post.

4/5

The Recipe

♦  1 ½ ounces Pomegranate & Rose Gin Liqueur

♦  1 ounce white rum

♦  2 ounce pomegranate juice

♦  ½ ounce lemon juice

♦  ½ ounce Grenadine

Shake all the ingredients together and serve in a chilled cocktail glass.


So there you have it, I can say with certainty that Lidl has done it again, those rapscallions. Pick up a bottle of the Pomegranate & Rose Gin Liqueur the next time you pop in to do your shopping – I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Thoughts, feedback or have your own recipe? Let us know here!