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This terminology had fallen out of favor over the last decade or two, but is now enjoying a revival. A long drink will have a tall glass full of mixer, in contrast to a short drink which has less mixer. Short drinks are not necessarily “stronger” since both types tend to contain the same amount of alcohol. Long drinks are therefore generally more dilute than short drinks.
A classic long drink is a Tom Collins. A simple style of long drink is the highball, a cocktail composed of one liquor and one mixer, (excluding garnish or ice). A classic example of the highball is the gin and tonic.
Evolution in Finland
In Finland, long drink (colloquially lonkero, tentacle) refers either to a mixed drink made from gin and, most commonly, grapefruit soda, or to a fermented drink that comes close to taste of gin and grapefruit juice.
In 1952, Finland was preparing to receive increased amount of visitors connected to the 1952 Summer Olympics. As a compromise following the Finnish prohibition (1919–1932), the country was living with a strict state-controlled alcohol policy. In order to help vendors facing a wave of foreign customers, the state allowed some liberalization and Alkoholiliike, the national alcoholic beverage retailing monopoly, introduced two brands of pre-mixed, bottled, ready-to-consume long drinks. These were the Gin Long Drink (gin with grapefruit) and the Brandy Long Drink (brandy with Pommac), then manufactured by Hartwall. The latter product was discontinued in the 1970s, after which the term long drink became primarily associated with the gin-and-grapefruit beverage in Finland.
Further liberalization of alcohol policy led to the birth of several long drink brands by different companies. Some experimented with using lemon, orange or other flavors instead of grapefruit. Others started manufacturing mild long drinks based on fermentation rather than on adding spirits. The 2000s saw the reintroduction of the brandy long drink, now manufactured by Laitilan Wirvoitusjuomatehdas.
As the drink evolved into a stand-alone category beverage, the English term long drink was also replaced by Finnish term lonkero (literally, "tentacle") in everyday speech, so much so that producers started to use the word on their packaging.
In the Finnish state retail monopoly alcohol store Alko, since 2007 Hartwall's "Original Gin Long Drink" has been the most popular product sold by the store, outselling Koskenkorva, one of the oldest Finnish spirits. Fermented lonkero beverages are sold in ordinary grocery stores under various names like "gin lonkero" or "grapefruit lonkero". The original mixed gin beverages can only be sold at Alko due to higher alcohol content (5.5% alc/vol).
- Frederic Gomes Cassidy; Robert Brock Le Page (1 January 2002). Dictionary of Jamaican English. University of the West Indies Press. p. 279. ISBN 978-976-640-127-6. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "Hartwall Original Gin Long Drink Alkon ylivoimaisesti myydyin tuotemerkki". Hartwall.