What is a Lonkero? The Long Drink from Finland Explained

February 23, 2023

Top down glass of long drink with a wedge of grapefruit

Ordering a Long Drink (or a Lonkero) in Finland is about as common as asking for a beer in the US, but it is no surprise that most Americans have never heard of this best kept Finnish secret until now!

Lonkero Key Facts

  • Created in the 1950s in Finland
  • Goes down easy and not too hard to pronounce
  • Made of gin, grapefruit soda and tonic
  • Long Drinks are the best selling alcohol category in Finland
  • Naturally gluten-free
  • It is NOT a seltzer
  • A traditional Long Drink is made with REAL gin, not malt!

What Is A Long Drink? 

A Long Drink or “Lonkero” is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Finland. A refreshing combination of gin, grapefruit soda and tonic, a long drink draws you in with a hint of wild juniper berries plus the crisp and bubbly sensation of citrus. There is nothing like it!

History Of The Lonkero

It all began when the Finnish government wanted to ensure that guests of the 1952 Helsinki summer games wouldn’t run out of something refreshing and unique to quench their thirst. The Finnish capital had seen decades of political and social tension, and Lonkero came just in time to usher in the endless summer days of the Finnish summer, and welcome in a period of immense transformation and modernization. The Long Drink was here to stay!

In Finland, Long Drink is a category of its own, similar to beer. Nearly seven decades later and there are now several brands emerging in the US. A Long Drink category technically exists; similar to the way hard seltzer and beer stake their claim in categories of their own. While you may not find a Long Drink on tap at your local bar, this up and coming Nordic secret is making its way onto shelves across the US. Yes, Lonkero in a can! The taste of Finland that you can enjoy anywhere.

What Does The Word Lonkero Mean?

The name ‘Lonkero’ comes from the English term ‘long drink’. Adapted to the Finnish pronunciation of the word ‘long’ and easily uttered by those who struggle to pronounce tricky Finnish words, Lonkero is a nickname for a drink that hung around well after those summer games ended. While it literally means ‘tentacle’ in Finnish, Lonkero is the most well loved Finnish drink no matter how you pronounce it.

A little something something that we bet you didn’t know… Finland is also the source of the word ‘kalsarikannit,’ defined as “the feeling when you are going to get drunk home alone in your underwear with no intention of going out.”

What Is The Flavor Of An Authentic Long Drink?

A cultural staple in Finland, Long Drinks are arguably one of the best-tasting and most refreshing alcoholic beverages in the world. Made from real gin and delicious ruby red grapefruit, it is not a shocker that the most common reaction we hear from first timers who try our authentic Loncaro Long Drink is, “WOW, this is dangerous.” 

Top tasting notes include sun-ripened ruby grapefruit, pink grapefruit, and hints of white grapefruit. These aromas immediately fill the air as soon as you open the can. Nothing is artificial or fake. Arguably the greatest part of our drink is the mouth-watering effect that leaves you ready for your next sip.

Where To Get An Authentic Long Drink?

You may not find Long Drinks at your favorite tasting room or bar quite yet, but not for long.

Glass of long drink with ice and garnish surrounded by cans of Loncaro and grapefruits.

Loncaro is currently available only in Southern California, but don’t worry, we have big plans for 2023. 

Looking for Loncaro? Check out FIND US on our website to see if we have landed in your neighborhood!  If you’d like Loncaro to be sold in a store near you, shoot us an email and let us know!  

Some larger US brands have tried to make their own versions of “Long Drinks” using malt as their alcohol, BUT DON’T BE FOOLED… if it does not contain REAL gin then it is NOT an authentic Long Drink!

Long Drink Versus Seltzers

Loncaro is NOT a seltzer! Unlike seltzers that use malt as their alcohol, Loncaro is a REAL cocktail, made with real gin. We use premium gin, pure citrus, and real cane sugar. Not only does it have a clean and crisp taste with a more complex mouthfeel, but it’s also gluten-free and contains absolutely NO artificial ingredients.  Just as pure and simple as it was in 1952!

Final Thoughts

While we cannot deliver the Northern Lights or the 188,000 lakes of Finland or the Midnight Sun that the Finns are blessed with each summer, Locaro does bring you a traditional taste of Finnish culture that can only be achieved by real ingredients. No wonder Finland is the happiest country in the world!  

Cheers, or as they say in Finland, Kippis!