Finnish Lonkero, Refreshing Lime Long Drink with Gin
Refreshing Lime Long Drink with Gin is a thirst-quenching Finnish alcoholic drink. I would describe the local drink as a popular alcopop. Using freshly squeezed lime juice and good quality gin turns my version of the Refreshing Lime Long Drink into a sophisticated cocktail.
Pyhä Ski Resort
Last week the hubby and I went on a last minute snowboarding holiday to Pyhä in Finland. Pyhä (pronounced Poo-ha) is a winter wonderland situated inside the arctic circle. This little gem is often overlooked, by skiers and boarders, for Lapland’s larger resorts. Perched on the slopes, surrounded by the enchanting pine forests of the Pyhä-Luosto National Park, Pyhä, offers the ultimate back to nature break. Clean air and minimal light pollution guarantees spectacular sunrise and sunsets, along with the chance of seeing the magnificent Northern Lights.
Ski resort comparison sites are good for a general resort review and piste stats. On paper Pyhä doesn’t look so impressive, when compared to Yllas or Levi. What the comparison sites fail to do is describe what makes a resort so special.
In this small resort everyone is made to feel welcome. Faces soon become familiar and very quickly it starts to feel like a friendly place to be. A ski break in Pyhä is a chance to escape and steal back precious time, time to reconnect with loved ones and nature. Its laidback atmosphere, and respect for skiers and boarders at all levels, make Pyhä a peaceful place to develop technique without pressure.
On The Slopes
Pyhä really is a one boot fits all resort. It’s particularly good if you want to develop your skills. The wide, quiet slopes of Pyhä are the perfect place to practice.
Ski and snowboard lessons are available for first timers, young and old. The gentle blue runs are ideal to learn and build confidence.
For the more advanced, challenging blue and red runs offer perfect conditions to work on their technique. There are near vertical black runs for the adrenaline junkies, who appear to have a death wish. There is also a snow park for those who want to practice jumps and freestyle.
Then there is the main attraction, an endless nature playground that is the Pyhä-Luosto National Park. Locals and tourists main reason for visiting Pyhä is the off-piste action. 142 km2 of rugged hills, ancient pine forests, treeless fell-tops and virgin snow. This off-piste paradise is the main reason for the slopes being so quiet.
There are also 150km cross-country ski trails in Pyhä-Luosto National Park. With 14km in both Pyhä and Luosto illuminated.
Fun off the slopes
Not a skier or snowboarder? No problem, Pyhä has enough to keep you entertained for the week. There is so much to do I will list the majority and highlight some of my favourites.
Pyhä-Luosto National Park trails.
Strap on a pair of snowshoes and head out into nature. Trails are well maintained and signed. There are toilets and rest huts along the way. The rustic wooden rest huts have a fire pit and log store. They are a cosy place to escape the harsh winter weather and to cook up a sausage or two after a long hike.
Visit the reindeers
You have to stop half way down run 8 to say hello to some of Santa’s reindeer. It feels magical, you just have to do it!
Sunrise & Sunset
Luckily you don’t have to get up early or stay up late to see the spectacular sunrise and sunset in winter. A burning amber sky starts around 9:00am and mellows into soft hues of pink and purple until the sunrises at 10:30am.
Sunset starts around 2pm and you need to head to the top of the mountain or run 13 for the best views. Like sunrise, sunset, floods the sky with colour and is truly breathtaking to watch.
I was lucky enough to tick one of my bucket list items off in Pyhä, seeing the Northern Lights.
Before I went I assumed that they would be pretty easy to see being inside the arctic circle. As it turns out it’s not that straight forward, even in a resort with minimal light pollution.
You need all the conditions to be aligned to stand a chance of seeing them. There needs to be a high KP index rating, higher the rating the more visible they will be. The lights need to be in the vicinity, they move around the globe and can be unpredictable. You also need a clear sky, free from clouds and light pollution. I recommend downloading a tracker app to predict the possibility of seeing them.
When you do, the waiting and anticipation is worth it. I’ve seen some spectacular firework and light shows, but nothing compares to this natural phenomenon. Green lights swirling and pulsing across a moonlight sky that’s sprinkled with starts is incredible. To think it’s a natural occurrence is mind blowing.
Other fun activities on offer; Husky rides, Snowmobile safaris, Ice climbing, Ice fishing, Sledging and sporting events throughout the season (check out Pyhä ski resort website for details).
Pyhä’s night life is pretty lowkey, with a handful of bars to serve the whole resort. The bars are generally quiet but have enough people and music to create a nice atmosphere. They are a place to relax and enjoy a Refreshing Lime Long Drink with friends after a busy day on the slopes. Bingo and live music nights are fun and very popular with locals and tourists. Some nights it was nice to just chill out in our private sauna and enjoy a couple of drinks by the log fire in our room.
Food and Long Drink
Food is typical bar food, pizzas, wings, fried chicken basket, burgers and other types of fast food. Nothing fancy but tasty and has enough calories to hit the spot after working up an appetite in subzero temperatures. Our studio, like most accommodation in Pyhä, was self catering so I made a few home cooked meals through the week.
At -15oC Tsokka Cafe, situated at the top of the mountain, is the cosiest place to stop for the worlds best hot chocolate. A bold statement, backed by 6 days of consecutive research.
I’m always keen to try local delicacies, however I could not face eating Rudolf or any of his reindeer friends. Thankfully I discovered Lonkero, a popular Finnish long drink typically make from grapefruit soda and gin. Lime and cranberry version were equally refreshing after a day of snowboarding.
With wine being an expensive game of roulette, the Refreshing Lime Long Drink became my regular tipple. The Finnish language is a joy to listen to and felt impossible to replicate. I had fun trying to pronounce Lonkero, but I was relieved when I realised they also referred to it as Long Drink.
We stayed in a wonderful studio in the PyhäLinna apartments. Our studio was possibly the most luxurious and well equipped self catering accommodation I have ever stayed in. It had everything you could need, from the smallest kitchen appliance, to a log burner and private sauna. Only a few years old, they still feel brand new.
PhyäLinna are situated in the perfect location for slope access and views of the National Park. Our morning ritual was my favourite part of the day. It started with breakfast watching the sunrise over the snow covered pine trees. After breakfast we had a 20 metre walk to the slopes. We’d strap on our boards and head off for the day.
We booked a last minute ski deal with Crystal holidays. Our week holiday to Pyhä included a free 6 day lift pass. This offer was unique to the resort of Pyhä and was a huge saving compared to resort lift pass prices. The free 6 day lift pass offer is available through Crystal holidays on 2021 winter packages to Pyhä. Crystal fly to Finland from Birmingham, Manchester and London Gatwick. The free lift pass offer and flight information is correct as of January 2020.
Refreshing Lime Long Drink
Refreshing Lime Long Drink with Gin
- Cocktail Shaker
- 20 ml Fresh lime juice
- 10 ml Fresh lemon juice
- 30 ml Gin a herby gin is best
- 15 ml Sugar syrup see 'how to' link in post below
- 150 ml Soda water
- Add all the ingredients, apart from the soda, into a cocktail shaker. Pop in some ice, close the lid and shake.
- Pour into a glass. Add some ice and top up with the soda water. Garnish with a slice of lime and sprig of rosemary or thyme from the garden.
Sugar syrup is cheap and easy to make. It’s used in most cocktails so make up a batch to keep in the fridge. Follow this link to my Sugar Syrup recipe.
My Refreshing Lime Long Drink contains alcohol and is only suitable for 18+ years. Please drink responsibly.
If you have any questions about any of my recipe or travel posts please get in touch.