Review: Hortus Pink Grapefruit and Elderflower Gin Liqueur

You know why you’re here. I know why you’re here. Let’s stop pretending and just get down to the all important business of booze.

Lidl, the crafty minxes, have come up with yet another cheeky Gin Liqueur to join their acclaimed Hortus ranks, this time with the delectable pairing of Pink Grapefruit & Elderflower. This combines two of my favourite flavours of all time, so you can imagine that I was pretty excited to give it a whirl. Any excuse, amirite?

I won’t lie, the first impression comes from the smell of this liqueur and it’s frankly a little off-putting; it’s stronger than you would hope for in a gin liqueur, and doesn’t have the fruitiest of smells either. Although there is a generic sweet, fruity undertone to it, it is still unfortunately overwhelmed by a distinct alcoholic aroma. Luckily for me and you, the taste is far better than the smell!

If I had to describe it in a word, it would be ‘marmalade’ – and yes, I know that may not be appealing to some, but it is accurate and highly intriguing, right? The liqueur starts out slightly bitter from the wonderful pink grapefruit, but then the elderflower adds a welcome floral note that weaves the drink into a wholly complex experience. The elderflower also offsets any negativity that the bitterness might bring and in turn the bitterness becomes a welcome sensation as it ensures that the sweet floral flavour doesn’t become all encompassing on your palate.

The first impressions are that this Hortus outing is another very enjoyable creation, and one that can be indulged in on it’s own without any accompaniments, but as per usual we’ve taken the liberty of preparing some recipes for you!


Cocktail No. 1

So first up we have a rather lovely combination of the Hortus Pink Grapefruit & Elderflower Gin Liqueur, white rum, apple juice and lemon juice. As you might expect, it’s a rather tart affair when you have both apple and lemon juice, but this tartness works well with the sweet yet bitter flavour of the gin liqueur. The liqueur itself is a slow burner in this drink – I wouldn’t necessarily say it has a starring role from start to end, but the aftertaste and final notes of the drink are where it really comes into play; the subtle bitter flavour offsets the sour lemon and prevents it from destroying your palate as lemon is want to do when given free reign in a drink.

The apple juice is the key to this cocktail, and I found that 2 ounces is the perfect amount – I tried 1 ounce but it ends up being bland and tasteless, which is kind of interesting (in that well known ‘frustrating and disappointing’ sense of the word) when considering the ingredients themselves definitely aren’t. Yes, apple is the predominant flavour rather than the gin liqueur, but it is absolutely paramount to the experience – if you don’t include it, it just tastes like apple and has zero depth.

The appearance itself is also rather pleasing – cloudy yet delicate, it looks quite decadent in a straight martini glass.

This first recipe is ideal if you have a penchant for sour beverages, and prefer to sip your drinks at leisure. I mean, if you fancy chugging it then go right ahead but you may end up with a slightly puckered mouth.

3/5

The Recipe

♦  1 ounce Hortus Pink Grapefruit & Elderflower Gin Liqueur

♦  1 ounce white rum

♦  2 ounces apple juice

♦  ½ ounce lemon juice

Shake all the ingredients together and then strain into a chilled martini glass.


Cocktail No. 2

Unlike the first recipe, this one has a slight edge of sweetness to contend with – although I will freely admit that it is short lived. Made up of the Hortus Pink Grapefruit & Elderflower Gin Liqueur, crème de pêche, orange juice and lemon juice, the drink starts out very sweet and fruity but is transformed by tart notes from the lemon juice, which makes the drink rather fun and playful – just when you think you know what to expect, POW, here comes another flavour profile. Flavour ninja, kapow! And yes, I know that ninjas don’t generally kapow but frankly I’m crap at stealth games so it’s how my ninja operates. Beware of the not-so-stealthy ninja, kapowing and kersplatting as only she knows how!

Anyway… as I was saying, this transformation makes the drink a very enjoyable, and multidimensional, experience that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

One thing to consider when making your own is making sure to use fresh orange juice as high quality ingredients help make this cocktail just that lil bit special, and sometimes it’s worth splashing the cash if you know it’ll make a difference, which it will in this case.

This cocktail is also a good way of using a slightly different type of alcohol. Although peach schnapps is cheap and commonly used, crème de pêche isn’t used nearly as much, which is a crying shame. In this, the sweetness of the crème de pêche lends itself well to the sweetness of the Elderflower but for those of you who may worry about it being too much on the saccharine side of things, never fear; luckily, the bitterness of the pink grapefruit works on not just it’s liqueur compatriot, but on the extra ingredients in the cocktail so it becomes a balanced drink once thoroughly mixed.

This is a memorable and fun way of using the new gin liqueur – definitely one recipe to keep an eye on!

5/5

The Recipe

♦  1 ½ ounces Hortus Pink Grapefruit & Elderflower Gin Liqueur

♦  ½ ounce crème de pêche

♦  1 ½ ounces orange juice

♦  ½ ounce lemon juice

Shake all the ingredients together and then strain into a chilled coupe glass.


PG&E Martini (aka Cocktail No. 3)

Sometimes nothing less than pure alcohol is good enough, and what better way of celebrating the Hortus Pink Grapefruit & Elderflower Gin Liqueur than by immortalising it in the classic martini!

The Martini is a quintessential cocktail, both in it’s traditional form made with gin and in the more modern vodka martini variant, and you can thank James Bond for popularising that one. I decided to make this recipe with gin, the thought being that it seemed appropriate given that we’re also using a gin liqueur to give it that jazzy flavouring. I’m happy to report that the PG&E Martini (catchy, right? Don’t all agree at once…) is an utter success; whilst martini’s can be too strong for many people to enjoy, adding the gin liqueur eliminates some of the alcoholic edge from both the gin and the vermouth. Yes, it’s still strong – which is arguably an important aspect of the martini – but it’s no longer too strong. There’s still the all-important OOF of booze that you get when drinking pure alcohol cocktails, but it is quite palatable to the average consumer and doesn’t leave a harsh aftertaste in your mouth either.

Even if you’re not a martini lover, I would thoroughly encourage you to give this one a go as you’ll likely find yourself polishing it off without even noticing, or feeling the societal pressure to ‘enjoy’ something that you don’t personally like. It’s a refreshing take on the classic martini, and a fabulous way to use the Hortus Pink Grapefruit & Elderflower Gin Liqueur whilst paying homage to the quality ingredients that make cocktails successful.

5/5

The Recipe

♦  1 ounce Hortus Pink Grapefruit & Elderflower Gin Liqueur

♦  2 ounces good quality gin

♦  ½ ounce dry vermouth

Stir the ingredients together with ice and then strain into a chilled martini glass. Alternatively, you can shake the ingredients a la James Bond, but this will water the flavour down somewhat.


There you go, another Lidl Gin Liqueur, another review, and another 3 cocktails for you all to try! Let me know your thoughts if you give any of them a spin, either by leaving a comment here or by sending us a Tweet/DM on Twitter!

For more of our Lidl Gin Liqueur reviews, check out the following links:

Hortus Rhubarb & Ginger Gin Liqueur

Hortus Pomegranate & Rose Gin Liqueur

Hortus Plum & Cinnamon Gin Liqueur

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