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A long drink will have a tall glass full of mixer, in contrast to a short drink which has less mixer. Short drinks are generally 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 (in Finnish lonkero) refers either to a mixed drink made from gin and, most commonly, grapefruit soda, or to a fermented drink that comes close to the taste of gin and grapefruit juice. Most famous other long drink flavours are cranberry and lime. In Finland, the long drink is ubiquitously available both in stores and in restaurants, usually on draught.
In 1952, Finland was preparing to receive increased numbers 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 same composition can be achieved by diluting a 10% beer into 5% with water and gin and grapefruit flavors, and the 4.7% product can be sold in grocery stores. 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 was replaced by the colloquial Finnish term lonkero (per the similar pronunciation to long, literally "tentacle"), which prompted producers to use the word as part of their marketing.
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 were only sold at Alko due to higher alcohol content (5.5% alc/vol) and the fact that only Alko was allowed to sell non-fermented alcohol until 2018 when alcohol related laws changed.
- 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. Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.