Review: Hortus Plum and Cinnamon Gin Liqueur

I wonder if Lidl anticipated the level of success they would have when they first launched the Gin Liqueurs range, for a success it has been. Every time a new Hortus Gin Liqueur comes out, I see it plastered all over social media and bargain websites such as HotUKDeals etc within a day of it hitting the shelves. Indeed, ever since the first 2 flavours (Raspberry/Rhubarb and Ginger) came out in 2017 the Gin Liqueurs have become permanent members of the alcohol aisles; this is a testament to the quality, and popularity, of the Hortus brand so it comes as no surprise that the brand keeps expanding.

The latest addition to the family has been no exception to the previous success stories; in fact, just when I thought they’d outdone themselves with the Hortus Pomegranate and Rose Gin Liqueur, they went all out for the festive season and released a Hortus Plum and Cinnamon Gin Liqueur. That’s some crafty work and I LOVE IT. Who doesn’t love spiced fruit during the winter weather?

Just like the previous offerings, the Plum and Cinnamon Liqueur is a very drinkable affair. The overriding flavour is of fruity sweetness, but the cinnamon does feature in the back half of the experience – the spicing is surprisingly gentle for the normally-explosive flavours that you expect from the Hortus range, but it is there. If I was being hyper critical, I would say that on its own the liqueur is a bit too sweet in large amounts, to the point of it leaving a tackiness in the mouth well after the fact, but this works in it’s favour when used in cocktails and especially when used in an honest-to-goodness gin and tonic. If you were to use it in a gin and tonic, I would recommend sticking to a classic tonic water and forgoing any fancy flavourings.

Oh Lidl, you devilish fiend you.

And so, on to the recipes!

Mulled Wine

Is it even Christmas if you don’t drink ungodly amounts of mulled wine?

…Just me? Nevermind.

From the very first sip of the Hortus Plum and Cinnamon Gin Liqueur, I just knew I had to use it in a mulled wine recipe; at the very least it has so many similarities in terms of flavours and spices with the real thing that it would be doing it a disservice to not at least try it.

Thankfully, it works wonders when combined with red wine and triple sec; between the heartiness and depth of the red wine, the cinnamon of the Hortus and the dried fruit flavours of both the Hortus liqueur and the triple sec you pretty much cover all the base flavours that one would expect from a glass of top-drawer mulled wine, but with only minimal effort required. There is something special about a homemade mulled wine that you just can’t beat, but for a large event or impromptu gathering – or unexpected cold weather snap – you really can’t argue with the results of this recipe.

The big added bonus of this recipe is that even once the drink has gone cold it’s still a delight. You sometimes find that cold mulled wine can be unpalatable which kind of puts you on edge, and personally I’m not one for having a deadline on my drinks. Sure, most of the time I finish the glass before it has time to lose temperature, but it’s nice to know that if you do need a bit longer – or get pulled away from it – it won’t be a write off once you return to the glass.

Pairs delightfully with a bowl of cheese puffs

The Recipe

♦  4 ounces red wine

♦  1 ½ ounces Hortus Plum & Cinnamon Gin Liqueur

♦  1 ounce triple sec

Pour the Plum & Cinnamon and triple sec into the red wine and gently heat together. If you use the microwave, do it in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one.

Winter Berry

If it was possible for a drink to taste like a word sounds, then this would be it. This cocktail tastes like the pinnacle of winter berries; there’s an intense fruitiness from the cranberry juice and the plum (not a berry, but it totally works anyway), but the cinnamon spice is present enough to take the edge of sweetness away. It’s also warming, but the added kick of vodka doesn’t make it taste too strong – it’s really just an adult version of a winter punch that would be welcome at any dinner party.

The Recipe

♦  1 ½ ounces Hortus Plum & Cinnamon Gin Liqueur

♦  1 ounce vodka

♦  1 ounce cranberry juice

♦  ½ ounce amaretto

Shake all the ingredients together with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Shrinking Violet

I’m not sure why I wanted to make a violet coloured drink, but when I think of plums the first thing that pops into my head is the hue of their skin; the deep, well, plum colour is so inviting that you can’t help but imagine the juiciness of the flesh underneath. Sadly, plums rarely live up to this promise (don’t hate me, plum apologists) but it did inspire me to make a purple cocktail, however I decided to step away from the more traditional deep purple and try for a paler tone. Everyone loves a bit of pastel, right?

I would say that the overall flavour profile of the Shrinking Violet is that of sherbet; sweet and sour, yet quite soft in a way. It doesn’t overstay it’s welcome on your palate and it doesn’t smack you in the face when you drink it. Bizarrely enough, the key ingredient of this cocktail is the lemon juice. It was originally made without it, however it was clear from the first sip that something was missing. It was lackluster and without any body, but when the lemon juice was added the cocktail was suddenly transformed – it really goes to show the difference a splash of acidity can make to a drink.

The Recipe

♦  2 ounces Hortus Plum & Cinnamon Gin Liqueur

♦  2 ounces vanilla vodka

♦  ½ ounce blue curaçao

Dash of lemon juice

Shake all the ingredients together with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

These are just our own recipes, but the Hortus Plum and Cinnamon Gin Liqueur does come with a small book thing of Lidl’s own ideas. The one that appeals most to me is the Spiced Plum Bellini (50ml of the liqueur topped up with prosecco) – it’s a great way to add a bit of eleganza to your drinking, and I can see it being popular on New Year’s Eve.

I would say that this is another successful outing for the Hortus Gin Liqueur range. Perhaps not as instantly memorable as the Rhubarb and Ginger or Pomegranate and Rose, but it’s still a worthy addition to any bar.

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