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Nemiroff Cranberry Liqueur

Review Nemiroff Cranberry Liqueur 90/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on April 21, 2011

Nemiroff Cranberry is a Vodka based liqueur which derives its flavour not just from Cranberries (apparently hand-picked in Siberian marshes) but also includes the natural flavours of apple juice, elderberries and Hawthorne. As well Crimean Brandy is used to complement these flavours in a complex but delightful finished product.

In the Bottle 4/5

The Nemiroff Cranberry Liqueur is a flavoured liqueur which is bottled at 21 % alcohol by volume. It arrives in the attractive 750 ml bottle pictured to the left. The clear bottle shows off the rusty amber colour of the spirit, and as you see, a small picture of three red cranberries is highlighted on the label making it clear what the dominant flavour will be.

Like the previously reviewed Nemiroff Vodkas, the rectangular bottle is stylish with a slightly flared bottom. The bottle is topped with a plastic screw cap topper that also contains a plastic diffuser. The red label and screw-cap stopper present the liqueur nicely with attractive but not over the top graphics.

The back label provides some additional information about the Liqueur informing me that the primary flavours I should expect are tart cranberry and a hint of brandy.

In the Glass   8/10

I poured the Nemiroff Cranberry into a small wine glass and gave the glass a gentle swirl. Unlike a higher proof spirit which will have a larger amount of alcohol evaporating and bringing the aroma up out of the glass, this is a 21 % spirit and the aroma must be coaxed out with a light amount of agitation. A wine-like aroma of fermenting fruit seemed to be the dominant scent but it was by no means intense or assertive. Vague hints of green apple rose into the breezes as well but in the glass I detect no obvious smells of cranberry or woody brandy.

In the Mouth    55.5/60

Wow! Based upon the nose, I was expecting a rather subdued drink which would test the abilities of my palate to find the flavours, but I was very wrong. I should have realized that although the lower alcohol proof would inhibit the nose it would not inhibit the palate. The cranberry I could not recognize when nosing the glass jumps out of the liqueur when it reaches the palate. But all of the other flavours jump out too. The result is a very different, but very original flavour combination which is both sweet and tart, lightly sour, and ever so gently bitter.

The leading flavour is indeed a tart but sweet cranberry juice; but there is a solid influence of sour green apples as well. A light wine-like grape flavour lies underneath which gives everything a slightly fermented flavour. Then there is something very different that I have never tasted before, (perhaps it is the Elderberry and Hawthorne), which seems to be lightly entwined into the flavour almost acting in the same way a light smoke wood act in a whisky. It is ever so mildly bitter; but it also seems to be exactly the compliment the other flavours need to come together.

The incredible thing is that we have a few flavour elements I do not normally enjoy, (wine and sour apples and a touch of bitterness) yet this liqueur is so marvelously constructed that everything works beautifully. I began my first tasting session my friend Dennis, and before I had realized what had happened we had sampled almost half the bottle. It is just that good.

In the Throat  13.5/10

As one would expect of a liqueur, the finish is lengthened considerably by the sweetness of sugar. But all of the main flavour elements go along for the ride. The palate is left with a pleasantly tart flavour of apple and cranberry, and the throat seems to feel the lightly fermented wine flavours. That light bitterness I noted on the palate has become a ghost in the throat haunting the other flavours with its presence but never becoming unpleasant.

The Afterburn  9/10

The Nemiroff Website takes particular pains to explain that they try to deliver their products not just by using natural flavours, but also that they also try to deliver a taste experience which is ‘original’. With their cranberry liqueur Nemiroff has succeeded wildly. This is a spirit which I am sure I will have a lot of fun experimenting with making various kinds of cocktails (see below for a few examples). But I also am enjoying myself completely sipping it neat (lightly chilled). This is not only original, it is delicious!

You may read some of my other reviews of  Liqueurs and Flavoured Spirits (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.



Suggested Recipes

A Long Cranberry Cocktail

1 oz Nemiroff Vodka
1 oz Nemiroff Cranberry Liqueur
1/4 oz Lime Juice
Top with Cranberry Cocktail (I use a brand called Ocean Spray)

Start with a healthy amount of Ice in a long glass
Add The Nemiroff Vodka, The Nemiroff Cranberry, and the Lime Juice
Complete with Cranberry Cocktail to taste

Garnish with a lime and enjoy!

A Rumberry Cocktail

3/4 oz White Rum
1 1/2 Oz Nemiroff Cranberry Liqueur
3/8 oz Lime Juice
3/8 oz Simple Syrup
Frozen Cranberries or a Frozen Grape

Add the first four ingredients into a metal shaker with Ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with the frozen fruit of your choice.


My Scores are out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret them as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing spirit.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails.)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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