Last year on vacation, Mark and I took a day trip from Copenhagen to Roskilde to visit the Viking Ship Museum (a must-see, BTW). We decided to stop in at a grocery store on our way to catch the train back to Copenhagen. We headed straight for the liquor aisle to peruse the local libations. (We’d already purchased a bottle of mead at the museum, which I reviewed here. But we were on the hunt for something a little more unique.) We ended up grabbing a few bottles that caught our eye, one of them being Hot N’ Sweet Premium Shot licorice liqueur in cactus flavour:
The company actually makes numerous different flavours of liqueur, including Blue Menthol, Passionfruit, Pomegranate, Turkish Pepper, and one called “Fishermint”. (That’s probably my favourite liqueur flavour name so far!)
Hot N’ Sweet is a vodka-based liqueur with additional flavours of molasses, sugars and licorice:
According to their website they are a fairly new company, only opening in 1993. But they already export to numerous countries such as Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Germany and Spain.
Onto the review:
On first sniff, it smells somewhat medicinal, as many licorice-based liqueurs seem to. But I also get a lot of sweetness, like a syrupy, candy-like sugary scent. Maybe even a slight whiff of floral, violet perhaps, if one really thought about it hard. It’s pleasant though, not “carnival sickly-sweet.” Oddly, there’s also the slightest hint of mint under the licorice liqueur overtones.
The colour reminds me of a watery melted-down licorice candy, sort of a light grey-brown. It’s not nearly as syrupy and thick as say, Drop Shot. If you just have a little, you can still see to the bottom of your glass.
Flavour-wise, it’s quite complex. Surprisingly so, for something marketed as a “premium shot,” or in other words, something intended to pound back quickly.
Initially it’s a bit salty on the tongue – not unexpected from a country that loves salted licorice candy. I would agree with the label on the “sweet” aspect. Once the saltiness fades away you get the molasses and glucose additives on your taste buds. But alongside the licorice liqueur flavour, there is definitely a minty sensation – menthol perhaps? Since two of the company’s other flavours are “Blue Menthol” and “Fishermint,” it’s not so far-fetched to believe there may be a hint of menthol in this recipe as well. But this is where the “hot” in the “Hot N’ Sweet” label escapes me, because I don’t get heat from it. Quite the opposite. It has a cooling effect on the throat. Though I imagine if you drank enough of it, you would start to feel a bit warm!
As for this part of the label:
Cactus? Ok, I’ll be honest. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything flavoured with cactus before, and I have no idea what it would taste like, other than to assume that it would taste green and watery. Do cacti even grow in Denmark? Anyway, I can’t say for certain whether the cactus flavour is detectable or not, since I haven’t the foggiest what cactus tastes like. But I can say that this is actually a complex drink, and one that exudes numerous nuances as you sip it. So rather than pounding it back as a shot, I’d recommend it as a nice sipper at the end of the day.
I’d be most curious to know what their Turkish Pepper liqueur tastes like though…