Hpnotiq is one of those modern liqueurs that graces the shelves of trendy bars around the world. It has an alluring, hypnotic blue colour, and a sleek and sexy bottle. It has a unique brand name, and spelling, that hits the mark with younger drinkers. It also has the price tag to match. It is often enjoyed by those who like to be “seen” as it is hard to miss the person drinking this fluorescent blue liqueur in a bar. So the question is: Is it more style than substance? Or is there something flavourful underneath all of the marketing. Did a good product get lost in the marketing hype machine?
Many people who read Art of Drink realize that I’m a brown spirits type guy with a preference towards really old whisky and big, bold rums and classic cocktails made from these ingredients. But, as a bartender, I realize that many people have many different tastes. Some people just like sweet fruity drinks, and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as they’re made well. I’ve been presented with an opportunity to review Hpnotiq so with an open mind I’m going to take a look at this trendy liqueur. I’m putting my aged spirit preference to the side temporarily.
Colour: Blue, almost fluorescent.
Aroma: Grapefruit with citrus (lime) and passion fruit. There might be some berry flavour in there too.
Flavour: Grapefruit, lime / lemon and a subtle berry flavour. Nice balance between sweet and sour, but it tends to lean toward the sour side of the equation. It has a refreshing quality.
Hpnotiq seems to be decent on its own, rather than a component in a cocktail. Most liqueurs, for cocktails, tend to be lopsided in a particular flavour direction (i.e. cherry brandy is very sweet cherry and creme de banana is all banana) which make them useful for mixing cocktails. But Hpnotiq seems to be a “cocktail” already, with vodka, cognac, and assorted fruit juices, a balanced flavour profile and a lower alcohol percentage (17%). This is pretty much a cocktail in a bottle.
I was surprised that the Hpnotiq was fairly well balanced. Usually, bright colour liqueurs are heavy on the sugar. In a cocktail, Hpnotiq would almost be like a lightly flavoured sour mix that makes a refreshing drink. If you were to mix it with to many other ingredients the flavour would get lost and at the price point of a bottle, your cocktail creations would be better served using a fresh sour mix.
The most important question is: How do they make it that blue colour? Well if you look at the ingredients list, it states “Certified colour added”.