Arctic Blue Beverages: Arctic nature in a bottle
TEXT: NDÉLA FAYE | PHOTOS: EEVA MÄKINEN
Founded in 2017, Arctic Blue Beverages has gained international recognition with its gins, made from botanicals grown in the stunning, pure forests of the Finnish Arctic. Having recently launched the world’s first gin-based oat liqueur, the company is constantly on the lookout for innovative new takes on drinks.
Arctic Blue Gin was born out of a vision to capture Finland’s Arctic nature in a bottle. Master Distiller Asko Ryynänen spent more than a year trying and testing 400 different recipes to fulfil the vision. Finally, on the 400th attempt, things fell into place – and Arctic Blue Gin was born. The ingredients were just right, bringing it the unique taste of the Arctic with juniper berries, bilberries (also known as wild Arctic blueberries), bilberry leaves, as well as the young bright-green tips of a spruce tree.
“As soon as the bottle is opened, you are greeted with the aromatic scent of the botanicals. Our distinguishable flavours come from Finland’s pure nature, with some of the world’s cleanest air and purest waters, as well as Arctic botanicals and the wild berries that grow in Finland’s pristine forests,” says Sara Käld, the company’s marketing specialist.
The bilberries used in Arctic Blue Beverages’ gins grow wild in the forests near Koli National Park. Thanks to Finland’s harsh winters and polar nights, and the endless sunshine of midsummer nights, they have a succulent, mouth-watering taste and high levels of flavonoids and antioxidants.
Because of the way the gin is distilled, all the natural aromas and essential oils of the bilberries are preserved in it. “This is also why the gin turns into a stunning, cloudy-white shade when it’s topped with cold tonic water or ice,” Käld explains.
All of the company’s spirits are handcrafted in the distillery, located in the small town of Ilomantsi, in the North Karelian region of Eastern Finland.
The company has gained widespread international recognition and has won a number of awards internationally. In 2018, Arctic Blue Gin was awarded doublegold. In the World Spirits Awards, the gin was both recognised as the best gin and awarded the coveted title of Spirit of the Year 2018. “It’s great to be recognised for the passion and quality craftsmanship that go into every single one of our products,” Käld says.
The world’s first gin-based oat liqueur (and it’s dairy-free, too!)
The company’s Arctic Blue Oat is a vegan and gluten-free gin-based liqueur, made from organic Finnish oats. Arctic Blue Oat can be described as aromatic and herby with a creamy mouthfeel and undertones of chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla spice.
In 2021, the liqueur was awarded bronze in the renowned International Wine and Spirit Competition. “In Europe and the United States especially, customers are increasingly looking for dairy-free products. Oat is expected to become the largest plant-based raw material in its product field – even exceeding almond. We want to be at the forefront of innovation,” Käld explains.
Dive into the world of Arctic mixology
If you are serious about cocktails, Arctic Blue Beverages has got you covered, too. “As Arctic Blue Oat is dairy-free, it’s ideal for cocktails and innovative mixology,” says Käld.
In addition, the company’s product range includes Navy Strength gin, which is the same as the company’s classic Arctic Blue Gin, but stronger. “Our Navy Strength gin is especially popular among mixologists. At 58.8 per cent ABV, the Navy Strength version of our gin has been designed to elevate ginbased cocktails to the next level,” Käld asserts.
The company’s products are sold across the Nordics and elsewhere in Europe, as well as parts of Asia and Australia, and there are new products launching later this year. “We’re keen to be at the forefront of innovation with our products. Instead of doing things that have been done before, we are always looking for new approaches, and ways to reinvent drinks. There are some very exciting things in the pipeline,” Käld concludes.
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