Let’s practice some Finnish again! I healthified a traditional and popular Finnish summer drink — a fizzy iced tea made from blackcurrant leaves. Sip this ultimate summer refresher to your heart’s content — it’s incredibly tasty and practically calorie-free!
What is “Louhisaaren juoma”?
“Louhisaaren juoma” is a popular, traditional Finnish drink that has been gulped down through generations. It’s usually associated with summer and outdoor activities and is often served at parties, picnics, and other social gatherings.
The origins of “Louhisaaren juoma” are somewhat unclear, as there are several different recipes for the drink. However, the most popular version is made by steeping blackcurrant leaves in water, then adding sugar, lemon, and yeast to the mixture and allowing it to ferment for a few days. The resulting drink is a mead-type sweet, slightly tart, and slightly fizzy beverage that is often served chilled.
“Louhisaaren juoma,” or “Marskin juoma” (Marshal’s drink) or “Marskin sima” (Marshal’s mead), was a favorite drink of Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, the Finnish military leader and statesman. If there’s one thing we know about great leaders, it’s that they have impeccable taste in beverages. So, if you want to be like a true Finnish patriot, you better get yourself a glass of this Ketoized “Louhisaaren juoma” and toast to the man who knew a good drink when he tasted one.
But what actually makes “Louhisaaren juoma” so popular in Finland? Is it the refreshing taste on a hot summer day? The unique flavor that combines sweet, bitter, tangy, and fizzy all in one? Or is it simply the fact that it’s a traditional Finnish drink that’s been around for decades? Who knows, but one thing’s for sure: if you’re looking for a drink that’s both Finnish and fabulous, “Louhisaaren juoma” is the way to go.
So, whip up a batch of this fizzy and refreshing drink and sip on some Finnish history!
How to make this Fizzy Blackcurrant Leaf Iced Tea
As the temperature starts to rise, it’s essential to stay hydrated and nourished, and this drink provides the perfect solution. It’s easy to make with ingredients that are easily available in your garden and kitchen (or online), and the result is a delicious and refreshing drink that is perfect for any time of day. Here’s how to make this mouthwatering, calorie-free, ice-cold, and fizzy blackcurrant leaf iced tea-based creation.
First, you have to get some fresh blackcurrant leaves, about 2 cups (470 ml) tightly packed. You will steep them with a sweetener and some malic acid. Don’t worry if you don’t have malic acid; you’ll get it easily, for example, from Amazon.
Traditional “Louhisaaren juoma” is fermented with yeast, although there exist quick versions that use citric acid instead of fermentation. The fermented drink needs several days to prepare, but the quick version with citric acid is ready in a few hours.
I don’t use citric acid in my kitchen as it’s highly allergizing and it’s synthetic. Therefore, I swapped citric acid for malic acid, which is more natural, and it actually also has a more subtle and elegant taste.
After steeping the leaves, you will throw the leaves away and combine the iced tea concentrate with ice-cold bubbly water like mineral water, then decorate and enjoy with joy.
Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Make is Calorie-Free Summer Drink
So, let’s take a more detailed look at how to prepare this incredibly refreshing and tasty drink:
Take 2 cups (470 ml) of tightly packed fresh and clean blackcurrant leaves.
Place them into a medium saucepan.
Boil 1 qt (1 liter) water.
Pour the boiling water into the saucepan with the blackcurrant leaves.
Add 2 cups (470 ml) of powdered erythritol (more sweetener tips at the end of this post)…
…and 2 teaspoons malic acid.
Mix well with a spoon.
Cover with a lid and let steep in the fridge for 12 hours.
Take the steeped drink from the fridge.
Drain the liquid well.
Squeeze the blackcurrant leaves gently to reserve as much tasty liquid as possible.
Transfer the liquid into a 2-qt (2-liter; or slightly larger) pitcher.
Add 1 qt (1 liter) ice cold sparkling water or any calorie-free unsweetened and unflavored bubbly water.
Add ice cubes, blackcurrant leaves, and lemon wedges for decorations, and serve immediately.
Cheers to the summer!
How I Came up with this Tasty and Refreshing Keto Drink Recipe
Usually, I check my idea list for blog posts several times a week to come up with new ideas or simply decide which recipe to publish on my blog. However, last week, I needed a super quick and easy recipe as I was going to travel and thus needed to prepare the recipe and take photos before traveling.
Sure, I was going to have a kitchen in the accommodation in the destination, but you never know how well you can prepare food and, first of all, what the local grocery stores offer.
Suddenly, I realized I could post a refreshing summer drink. Without further thinking, it hit me that a keto version of “Louhisaaren juoma” would be the ultimate recipe to post here on my blog. I used blackcurrants in my last week’s blog post, so now I could use the leaves, I contemplated.
I’ve always wanted to try to make a keto version of “Louhisaaren juoma”, so now it was about time! Sharing Finnish traditions and tastes is something unique I want to do here on my blog — so, make sure to check all my keto Finnish recipes!
Well, I knew the most traditional recipe needed fermenting as the drink was a mead-style drink. However, I also knew that there exist recipes for almost instant “Louhisaaren juoma” drink for modern busy people and their needs.
I took a look at some instant drink recipes and noticed all of them use citric acid, which is a no-no in my kitchen (although I’ve been thinking of taking some to get rid of my kidney stones).
Immediately, I knew I could swap the citric acid for malic acid, a more natural acidic ingredient. I wasn’t sure about the dosage but decided to play up a bit with the recipe to be able to find the correct amount.
For the sweetener, I decided to add powdered erythritol as I had it at hand. I love allulose, but I have to order it from the US, so that’s why I have to use it sparingly.
Luckily, I have blackcurrant bushes growing in my backyard, so I could grab the main ingredient for my drink free of charge.
After coming up with the measures, I was ready to conduct my first experiment. As time was tight, I shot the progress photos while doing the experiment. I was sure I didn’t have to make drastic changes to the final recipe.
After steeping the blackcurrant leaves, I drained them carefully and tasted the concentrated iced tea. Oh, it was super tart! I had used only 1/2 cup (120 ml) of powdered erythritol and 1 tablespoon of malic acid.
I really needed to increase the sweetener and reduce the malic acid, I concluded.
However, I wanted to try out the fizzy version of the drink anyway, so I added 1 qt (1 liter) of bubbly mineral water to the tart liquid. The drink naturally was less tart, but I clearly needed to get the acidity and sweetness in balance.
Luckily, that was an easy thing to do, and the final result — a sweet enough but still refreshingly tart recipe — you’ll find here.
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy:
- 2 cups = 470 ml fresh, cleaned blackcurrant leaves, tightly packed
- 1 qt = 1 liter water
- 2 cups = 470 ml powdered erythritol (check sweetener alternatives at the end of the post)
- 2 teaspoons malic acid
- 1 qt = 1 liter ice-cold mineral water or other bubbly water
- Place the blackcurrant leaves into a medium saucepan.
- Heat the water until boiling.
- Pour the boiling water into the saucepan with the blackcurrant leaves.
- Add the sweetener and the malic acid into the saucepan. Mix well.
- Cover the saucepan with a lid and let stand for 12 hours in the fridge.
- Drain the liquid. Squeeze the blackcurrant leaves well to reserve as much liquid as possible. Discard the blackcurrant leaves.
- Transfer the liquid into a 2-qt (2 liter) pitcher.
- Add the ice-cold bubbly water. Add ice cubes, blackcurrant leaves, and lemon wedges as decorations and serve immediately
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases - without any extra costs for you.
Low Sugar, So Simple: 100 Delicious Low-Sugar, Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Recipes for Eating Clean and Living Healthy
It's Just - Allulose, Sugar Substitute, Keto Friendly Sweetener, Non-Glycemic, Made in USA (32oz)
NOW Natural Foods, Organic Confectioner's Erythritol Powder, Replacement for Powdered Sugar, Zero Calories, 1-Pound (Packaging May Vary)
Anthony's Confectioner's Erythritol, 2 lb, Non GMO, Natural Sweetener, Zero Calorie, Keto & Paleo Friendly
Pure Malic Acid ⊘ Non-GMO ❤ Gluten-Free ☮ Vegan ✡ OU Kosher Certified - 50g/2oz
Tips for Making the Perfect “Louhisaaren juoma”
You can buy malic acid online, but in case you cannot get any, you can replace it with the juice and the peel of a small organic lemon.
For sweetener, you can use any natural calorie-free sweetener — or their combination — to taste. Good alternatives to erythritol are allulose, stevia, and monk fruit. Keep in mind that this drink is tart, so remember to use enough sweetener.
That said, you can make this drink completely sweetener-free if you avoid any added sweetness. In that case, use only 1 teaspoon of malic acid in your modified recipe.
You can freeze the concentrate (i.e., the drained liquid without the bubbly water), for example, in an ice cube mold. When you need refreshment, pop in a cube or more and place in a glass. Fill with sparkling water and enjoy.
If you want to prepare this drink in the wintertime — or whenever blackcurrants are not in season — you can freeze fresh blackcurrant leaves and prepare the drink later in the year when you need a refreshing drink. I don’t recommend making “Louhisaaren juoma” from dried blackcurrant leaves as the flavor might turn grassy and not that intense.
Here are a few variations on your “Louhisaaren juoma” that you might enjoy — although then the recipe is not traditional anymore, but as a keto version, it’s not that traditional anyway, so who cares:
- Minty “Louhisaaren juoma”: Add a handful of fresh mint leaves with the blackcurrant leaves. This will give the drink a refreshing minty flavor that pairs well with the tartness of the blackcurrant leaves.
- Spicy “Louhisaaren juoma”: Add a slice of fresh ginger with the blackcurrant leaves. This will give the drink a spicy kick that will keep you refreshed for hours.
- Boozy “Louhisaaren juoma”: For adults and special occasions, add a shot of vodka or gin to the drink before adding the mineral water. This will turn your iced tea into a refreshing cocktail that’s perfect for sipping on a hot summer day.
- Fruity “Louhisaaren juoma”: Decorate the ready drink with sliced fresh fruit and berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, or peaches. Their flavor will infuse and jazz up the flavor or the drink — without calories as long as you keep them just as decorations and don’t eat them.
- Ice cream soda from “Louhisaaren juoma”: Add a ball of keto vanilla ice cream to the serving glasses before pouring in the bubbly water. This will make the drink a creamy, indulgent treat that’s perfect for sipping on a lazy summer afternoon.
Greetings from Greece! I’m traveling and currently located on a lovely island called Andros.
As with any Greek island, also Andros has many beautiful beaches with soft sand and turquoise water.
The local food is incredibly tasty. I’ve gulped down many servings of lamb chops. The meat is fatty and beyond-belief delicious. I actually prefer lamb to beef, and here the lamb meat is extremely skillfully prepared to make mouthwatering meals.
Of course, I had to taste some seafood as the sea is all around here. Grilled shrimp and fresh, grilled sardines were particularly appetizing. That reminds me of a funny joke: “I’m on a see-food diet. When I see food, I’ll eat it.” (Well, some scientists have proven that you actually will eat more if you see food more. So, if you can see the food and it’s within your arm’s reach, you could eat yourself obese within a few years and not even know what hit you because the eating happens unconsciously! Now you know, so act accordingly!)