The greatest lemon liqueur in the world? That’s what Salvatore Calabrese set out to make and while we can’t claim to have sampled every lemon liqueur out there, we must say we think he’s achieved his goal. Sweet but not overly so, tangy but not too sharp, if limoncello is the humble serf in the pecking order then Salvatore’s Liquore di Limone is definitely king.
Being the perfectionist that he is, Salvatore’s liqueur took almost three years to develop. One of those was spent researching the best time to pick the lemons for optimum freshness and aroma (it turns out that’s the first week of June).
These babies are pretty special. Calabrese sources them from a spot in his native Maori on the Amalfi Coast where the lemons are shielded from the sun at midday so the skin still retains its plumpness and natural water. Having gone to so much trouble to find the raw ingredients, it stands to reason that the same care and attention to detail goes into creating the finished product. So instead of the 24 hours in 100% neutral spirit that the sun drenched, crinkly skinned limoncello lemons are subjected to, these ones get five weeks to impart their flavour in the most noble of spirits, cognac. Talk about a privileged start…
Add the purest beet sugar and that’s pretty much it. Which explains the natural lemony colour of the liquid as opposed to the garish yellow hue we’ve come to expect from the artificially sugared limoncello. Place the two side-by-side and judge for yourself. And that’s not the only difference. The taste blows limoncello out of the water. There’s no harshness of spirit, none of that sickly medicine-like sweetness that hangs around like an unwanted guest, rather a fresh, perky, lemon essence akin to the Grand Marnier style of liqueur.
It’s an amazing canvas for cocktails like Sours, Margaritas or deftly balanced with ginger ale in a Mule but also works like a dream neat, on the rocks or gently warmed. Keep a bottle handy to add a nice honeyed citrus tang to desserts as well.
Priced £25, available from selected outlets, including Gerry’s Wines & Spirits, 74 Old Compton Street, W1D 4UW. T: 020 7734 2053. gerrys.uk.com.
See Emporia Brands for additional outlets emporia brands.com