Vana Tallinn – the liquid Estonian ambassador (+ recipes)

Vana Tallinn is one of the most famous Estonian brands worldwide. It is one of the things that most tourists like to bring back home, besides pleasant memories. Don’t believe us? Check any traveller’s blog. And their liqueur shelf.

What is Vana Tallinn?

Vana Tallinn liqueur is one of the Estonian most famous brands. Its name – Old Tallinn  – carries the glory and tradition of the Estonian capital to the rest of the world. 

This is a hard liqueur made from fine Jamaican rum, spices and citrus fruit, made by Liviko company. It was a game-changer on the market mostly dominated by vodka and a jump ahead in time. The original recipe is top-secret, of course. All we know is that it contains more than ten different ingredients. Most of the process is still hand-made. 

The bottle design is inspired by the historical Tallinn towers. It is a triumph of design, a mixture of modern and traditional. It is also one of the reasons why tourists like to bring a bottle of this concoction home. The main reason is still the unforgettable taste.

Officially, this is the most famous Estonian liqueur in the world. That’s something the Liviko company can be proud of.

The history of Vana Tallinn

The history of Vana Tallinn is the history of the Liviko company.

THE BEGINNING

  • 1898. – Laying the fondation for Kroonu Viinaladu No1 – the state warehouse for vodka and a predecessor of Liviko company. Liviko’s production facility is still settled in the main building.
  • 1950. – Ilsa Maar, master distiller, creates a cocktail called Liviko. The new cocktail was a huge success, and the company adopted the new name. 
  • 1960. – Vana Tallinn liqueur was born, after months of carefully and secret experimenting with bold tastes. Its creators were Ilse Maar, Bernard Jürno, and Jaan Siimo.
  • 1975. – The first million litres of Vana Tallinn were produced
  • 1999. – Liviko starts producing more liqueur versions.
  • 2013. – 100 millionth bottle was produced

It was a hit from the very start. Although nowadays Liviko produces more than 70 different liqueurs, Vana Tallinn is still their famous one. From one classical taste, their offer grew to 16 different products, in 4 categories:

  • Classical – The first version of liqueur. Available in 40%, 45% and 50% versions.
  • Cream liqueurs – Liviko’s take on Baileys. These creamers are soft (16%), sweet and perfect addition to your cup of coffee or a cake recipe.
  • Seasonal drinks – Soft cocktail drinks (Spritz), winter drinks (Glögi) and different seasonal-taste liqueurs
  • Exclusive – Crème de la crème. The finest work of Liviko masters can be found in three products – Heritage edition, Signature, and Elegancé.

Of course, top-quality products are always rewarded. From its very beginnings to this day, this product was a magnet for rewards and achievements. From Estonian to Baltic and worldwide competitions, the Vana Tallinn liqueurs continue to promote Estonia in the most beautiful way.

Where can I buy Vana Tallinn?

If you are in Estonia, you can buy it at every step. From grocery shops, alcohol stores and bars – it is literally everywhere. Gift boxes are especially popular among tourists. The prices start from just 1,35 € for the smallest bottles (0,04l) to 20-30€ for Exclusive editions and gift boxes with glasses included.

If you have a bit of bad luck and don’t live in Estonia (or don’t have a chance to visit us), you can still get your portion worldwide. The only continents where you can’t get Vana Tallinn are Antarctica and South America. Moreover, this fantastic liqueur is available in 54 airports. And, of course, you can order your bottle online.

Vanna Tallinn bottle and a glass
Picture from their Facebook page

How do you drink Vana Tallinn?

First, you should drink it responsibly. Depending on your choice, these liqueurs can have up to 50% of alcohol. Don’t let the sweet taste fool you. 

Now, we have three usual ways of enjoying this rich taste of Estonia.

ON THE ROCKS

The simplest way to enjoy the original version, as well as the Exclusive edition. Take a tumbler glass and fill it halfway with ice cubes. Add a few slices of your favourite citrus – lime, lemon, or orange. Top it up with 4 cl of Vana Tallinn and stir lightly.

The taste can sometimes be too sweet, if you are used to harder liqueurs, like vodka. But the sweetness of Jamaican rum pairs well with the bitterness of citrus slices. This is the perfect drink for enjoying the long days of short Estonian summer.

MAKE A COCKTAIL

Vana Tallinn products go exceptionally well with coffee, as you already read in one of our articles. They go well with other cocktails, too, but we are a coffee-centric webpage, so…here is a simple recipe for Espresso Martini.

Take a cocktail shaker and fill it in half with ice cubes. Add one shot of strong espresso, one shot of Vana Tallinn Coffee Cream and one shot of Vana Tallinn. Optionally, you can add a few drops of chocolate syrup. Shake it all vigorously and pour in a martini glass.

VANA TALLINN COFFEE

This is the Estonian version of Irish coffee. It is popular among tourists, especially those visiting Old Town. All the best bars in Tallinn have it on their offer. The principle is the same as with Irish coffee, nothing that innovative. But the taste is so much richer, as the gentle nuances of rum and spice pair perfectly with a good cup of coffee.

Pour two shots of espresso into a hot beverage glass. Add 4 cl (or more, we don’t judge) of the original 40% version and stir. Top it with a rich layer of whipped cream. Optionally, you can add chocolate shavings or cinnamon powder on the top. 

Picture from their Facebook page

FAQ

What does Vana Tallinn taste like?

In original Vana Tallinn, an experienced palate will find nuances of caramel, toffee, vanilla, citrus, cinnamon and fine rum. Our British readers might find the taste somewhat similar to traditional Christmas pudding. The readers from France found some similarities to Coientrau, another delightful liqueur.

British and French beg to differ. What a surprise.

How do you serve Vana Tallinn?

The choice is all yours. Vana Tallinn is great as a solo drink, as an ingredient for cocktails, spiked coffee and even culinary masterpieces. However, if you serve it solo, ice is a must.

In what size does Vana Tallinn come from?

This beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. From a petit 50 ml to a 1-litre bottle. For one quick shot or for sharing it with family and friends. You can even buy a handy 4-pack version (2 litres), which is just mildly disturbing.

What is Vana Tallinn Glögi?

Glögi is the common winter drink in Estonia and the rest of the Nordic countries. Liviko’s version is a mix of red wine, classical Vana Tallinn liqueur and winter spices. Simple, it is an Estonian version of mulled wine, this time with an addition of hard liqueur.

Conclusion

It is always inspiring to see Estonian brands go big worldwide. Especially if they are as top-notch as Vana Tallinn. Their story can serve as an inspiration to anyone, especially how they adapted to the modern way of business. Good work, and keep it going. The world needs more top products.

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