Tequila and spritz are trending on the Baltic Sea – Paloma is this summer hit drink

Tequila is super trendy across the world and has also become a favourite with Finns, while gin’s great popularity is levelling off. Although the pineapple lonkera, or long drink—a cocktail made of gin and pineapple soda – broke an all-time record last year, Ossi Ruusunen, who is in charge of Viking Line’s restaurant beverages, believes sales of long drink products will continue to grow.

If you’re looking for this summer’s best thirst-quenching drink, it would probably be a spritz this summer as well. The drink, originally from Italy, is a mix of prosecco and soda with a bitter or liqueur.

“During the summer months, we sell tens of thousands of spritzes on our vessels. Aperol Spritz is the most popular of all, but a strong challenger is Hugo Spritz, with elderflower cordial, and the refreshing Limoncello Spritz. One reason for the continued popularity of spritzes is that they are weak drinks – one clear trend is drinks with a low alcohol content,” explains Beverages Manager Ossi Ruusunen, who is in charge of the restaurants’ drinks.

A growing number of people are choosing totally non-alcoholic cocktails – this is also apparent on the sun terraces of Viking Line’s vessels.

“Last summer, a full 15 per cent of all cocktails we sold were non-alcoholic. For people who like spritzes, we recommend the Italian Spritz, which is made of non-alcoholic Rebels Spritz Alternative and prosecco.”

Among liquor-based cocktails, tequila is the trendiest choice this summer and is growing in popularity around the world. In the 1990s, people drank tequila shots with lemon and salt in trendy Tex-Mex restaurants, but now exciting drinks are being mixed with it. The hit drink Paloma is made by mixing tequila with lime juice and grapefruit soda.

“Nowadays people drink less alcohol, but they prefer better quality in their glass as well as in their shopping  cart. Today our customers are especially interested in genuine premium tequila made from 100 per cent agave. It’s the same phenomenon for gin. While the big gin boom has peaked, we’re still selling quality premium gin varieties both in our restaurants and our tax-free shops. Our prices are on average 25 per cent lower than prices on shore, and for the more expensive premium products, the price difference can be bigger,” says Ossi Ruusunen.

Riesling gets a challenger: Crémant is trending among sparkling wines

More than one hundred different wines are sold in the restaurants on board Viking Line’s vessels, while around a thousand different wines are included in the tax-free shop’s assortment.

“The chardonnay grape is making a comeback and challenging Riesling, which is still the best-selling grape. The longstanding German favourite is also in competition with the Austrian Grüner Veltliner and Txakoli, which comes from the Basque region of Spain. Both have nuances similar to a Riesling. Rosé wine sales are on the rise, but are still not as high as white or red wine sales. For sparkling wines, the French Crémant is trending this summer.”

Beer is still in first place, but will long drinks live up to last year’s pineapple cocktail rage?

Beer is the most popular beverage sold both on the sun terraces and in the tax-free shops. Domestic lagers are the top seller, closely followed by IPAs, which are here to stay. For instance, passengers’ interest in Italian and Mexican beers continues to increase.

Among brewery products, the biggest growth at Viking Line is in long drinks. Meanwhile, the consumption of cider has fallen.

“All indications are that the popularity of long drinks will continue to grow both in our restaurants and in our tax-free shops. Alongside the traditional lonkero of gin and grapefruit soda, we sell a lot of pineapple lonkeros, which were a big hit last summer—I can’t remember any other single product that reached the same level,” says Ossi Ruusunen.

The hit drink in summer 2024 is called the Paloma. Here’s the recipe

  • Pour 4 cl of Patrón Reposado tequila and the juice of 1/2 lime into a glass and then fill it with Jarritos Grapefruit soda.
  • Serve in a tall glass filled with ice.
  • Garnish with a slice of blood grapefruit.

Tips from Viking Line Beverages Manager Ossi Ruusunen:
These are good deals to buy on board

  • Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel by Essi Magnum is only sold by Viking Line. In the restaurant, a glass costs 10.90 euros, a very affordable price for the champagne, which has aged in a magnum bottle. In our tax-free shops, a 1.5 litre bottle costs 84.95 euros.”
  • “The Txakoli grape is a fun wine speciality from the Basque region of Spain. Txomis’ wine, Etxaniz Txakoli, has nice acids and a hint of fruity sweetness, which give it the character of a Riesling. Txakoli goes well with oily fish dishes. Hundreds of bottles of this wine were sold in our restaurants last season. The price of a 75 cl bottle for take-away in our restaurants’ wine shop is 12.50 euros.”
  • “This spring we launched our second on-board beer. Viking Line Lager is an aromatic, refreshing craft beer, related to Viking Line IPA, which exceeded all our sales expectations. Both beers were created in partnership with the award-winning Finnish  microbrewery Rock Paper Scissors Brewing from Kuopio. The price for either beer in the tax-free shop is 2.90 euros.”

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