Fortunella – London’s exotic liqueur

FortunellaOne glance at the Fortunella Golden Orange Liqueur bottle will lead the prospective sipper to expect something a little different, a refined taste, a well-crafted spirit, a nod to London and its history …and that’s before one even pulls the traditional cork stopper.

The name Fortunella refers to the lucky discovery of the fragrant and small oval kumquat. The explorer Robert Fortune introduced this fruit to London in 1846. He was a plant hunter and traveller who was best known for stealing tea plants from China in order to move the tea trade to India and Ceylon.

Golden Orange or Kumquat trees are slow growing and yield a few hundred to a few thousand fruits a year.  They are native to south Asia and Asia-Pacific.  They make beautiful ornamental specimens for conservatories. The fruits are often used for exotic jam, and are prized for their outstanding citrus flavour.

Most aromatic fresh fruits

Fortunella creator Lukas Stafin has had a 15-year career in the drinks industry; he has been involved in such experimental bars as Purl.  Lukas says, “The creation of Fortunella has been a very satisfying journey of taste discovery for me.  As a bartender, I am passionate about creating drinks from scratch and have always looked for original new drinks, which can really deliver on natural flavour and have genuine potential for regular usage.  The liqueurs sector offers so much innovation. The adventure is in creating a product which stands out and goes a step further than others.

“In Fortunella I have meticulously sourced the most aromatic fresh fruits and trialled many production techniques to retain their taste sensation and achieve an unusually low level of sweetness balanced by a dry finish; then tasted and refined it with bar colleagues whom I respect for their critical palate and hands-on bar expertise.”

The attractive brown glass bottle design is inspired by apothecaries’ flasks and would have been around in the Victorian times of Robert Fortune.  The label is in the Chinese tradition of herbal remedies. A sketch of a kumquat tree, along with the words ‘golden orange’ in Chinese, are also on the label in elegant brush script.

Simply over ice

Lukas Stafin and Darius Plazewski of London’s Bimber Distillery have crafted this delightful liqueur which will be a welcome addition to any home bar this summer. Fortunella is made in London from 100% natural ingredients including those kumquats.

One could make some delightful cocktails with Fortunella Golden Orange Liqueur, but one should try a little of this simply over ice to appreciate its unique and rather delicious citrus characteristics.


Appearance: pale lemon with good legs

Nose: fresh with plenty of citrus peel

Palate: zesty with unmistakable kumquat notes. Sweet but not cloying

Finish: long with orange peel and a hint of lemon

ABV: 36%