Drinkhacker dove into Lunar’s original core line last year with a nod of approval. Recently the brand has partnered with high-profile NYC area Asian-owned restaurants for a limited series “Sunset Edition” of its Heritage Line, this time aiming to bring “the warm, bustling yet relaxing Asian beachside market to New York City with this lineup of summertime flavors.”
Let’s get going then.
Each is 4.7% abv.
Lunar Heritage Line x Bonnie’s Salted Kumquat – Bonnie’s is a Cantonese American restaurant in Williamsburg founded by Chef Calvin Eng. Since I had not the faintest of idea of what to expect with “salted kumquat,” I had to turn to their own words: The flavor is “inspired by a traditional common cold remedy in Chinese American families that uses kumquats preserved in salt and sugar to brew a hot tea to help with a sore throat.” And here’s the kicker… “contains MSG for some added flavor!” This is also supposedly a nod to “your everyday orange juice mimosa.” Now that I know what to expect (kind of), this medicinal, salty-sweet, tea-based twist on a mimosa is intriguingly addictive. Every sip starts with salt, so this will appeal to some and detract others. The only sweetness comes from the softest hint of orange juice and a malty undertone. Though a bit odd, this seltzer is convincing as an all-day sipper over ice on hot sunny day beachside. Definitely worth trying at least once. A-
Lunar Heritage Line x Jeju Noodle Bar Mint Omija – Jeju Noodle Bar is owned by chef Douglas Kim, and specializes in “ramyun” which is Korean instant noodle soup. “Omija” is a popular summertime magnolia or schisandra berry punch (also prized for the rarity and medicinal benefits of the berries) and tries to achieve the “5 flavors” of sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and spicy. The drink succeeds on all counts: first the kick of mint that later resurfaces with some bitterness, a fruit base that is indecipherable but clearly present with a mellow and velvety body on the palate, and a touch of dryness from the tea. Although the saltiness is not obvious, it clearly plays a role in the leveling up on the sour and toning down on the sweet. Definitely fruitier than the Salted Kumquat, and equally winning as a unique seltzer alternative. A-
Lunar Heritage Line x Win Son’s Teresa Teng – Win Son is a Taiwanese-American restaurant co-founded by Josh Ku, who pays homage to Teresa Teng via a cocktail named in her honor; Teresa is an Asian musician whose level of international fame predated today’s K-pop sensations. The beverage itself was created by Ku as a “patio pounder” for the warmer months and relies on lime, cucumber, and mint to pump up the refreshment factor. Oddly, the first note on the palate is vanilla extract, which is not an ingredient and not mentioned in Lunar’s own notes. But there it is, which makes for an interesting detour from the salt, lime, and cucumber notes. Again, very subtle on the sweetness with complex but lightly present, intertwining notes of sour, bitter, and fruit. A-
The flavors are all very different from each other, and they sit right where you want in a hard seltzer in the summertime for carbonated refreshment and a pleasant little buzz to complement the sunshine.
$42 for a variety 12-pack / drinklunar.com