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Liqueurs


Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur PDF Print E-mail
Featured Spirits - Liqueurs

Originally published in the Product Spotlight section of Volume 5, Issue 3 of Alcoholmanac Magazine

By Daniel Downes

a picture of Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur

Produced and bottled in Italy, Solerno features sanguinello blood oranges native to the island of Sicily. This unique liqueur is actually a blend of three different small-batch distillations from a copper pot still: one made from the meat of the oranges, one from the skins and one from local Sicilian lemons. It is made without any dyes and is sweetened with sugar beets.

When you take a whiff, it will remind you of fresh orange zest. This orange flavor continues to the taste. The sugar beets give a nice level of sweetness that doesn’t become too cloying like liqueurs sweetened with corn syrup. The lemons from the third distillation come in at the end for a bright finish. Serving it alone chilled makes for an excellent post-dinner digestif, but it also exhibits some versatility. Try using it as a Cointreau or triple sec replacement in your favorite cocktail or swapping it in place of Tequila for a new spin on the classic margarita.

 
Campari PDF Print E-mail
Featured Spirits - Liqueurs

a picture of Campari
Gruppo Campari
Italy

41 proof


Campari, one of my personal favorites, was born in Novara, Italy in 1860, when Gaspare Campari first blended his secret mix of herbs, aromatic plants and fruit. His bittersweet concoction, meant as a digestif (an herbal spirit meant to aid digestion), became rather popular. In fact, it became so popular that people began drinking it before meals rather than after, creating a new trend—the aperitivo (meal opener, meant to whet your appetite). Campari began producing his spirit on a mass scale, originally calling it Bitter Uso Olanda. Obviously the name didn’t stick, but the spirit did!

The Campari brand was born, fueled by aggressive and innovative print advertising, and distribution spread throughout Europe. By 1906, Davide Campari, Gasapre’s son, began exporting Campari. Today, it is available in over 190 countries.

Campari is a divisive spirit—people either tend to either love it or hate it. It has a bright, earthy, herbal nose, with hints of bright fruit. The front end of the taste is rather intensely bitter, but that bitterness breaks into a complex cornucopia of herbal and spice flavors. Campari is famous for its role in cocktails such as the Americano, Boulevardier, Lucien Gaudin Cocktail and, most famously, the Negroni.

 
Luxardo Maraschino PDF Print E-mail
Featured Spirits - Liqueurs

a picture of Luxardo Maraschino
Girolamo Luxardo SpA
Italy

64 proof


The recipe for maraschino liqueur dates back to the early 16th century. Developed by apothecaries at the Dominican monastery at Zadar, Croatia, the liqueur was distilled from both the fruit and leaves of the marasca cherry tree, native to Zadar. Marasca cherries are small and bitter, making them especially good for distillation, but these cherries are also the original base cherry for the maraschino cherries often used in cocktail garnishes.

The Luxardo family got into the maraschino liqueur game in 1817, when Girolamo Luxardo was sent to Zadar as “consular representative of the Kingdom of Sardinia.” While there, his wife began making the cherry liqueur out of her home, as was apparently customary at the time [where is this tradition now!?]. Due to its local popularity, Girolamo brought her recipe into full production in 1821. Tragically, the Luxardo Distillery (and most of Zadar, now part of Italy) was almost completely destroyed by bombings during World War II. Many people in Zadar were killed, including all but one member of the Luxardo family. Thankfully, he rebuilt the distillery and his famous brand following the war.

Luxardo Maraschino, while not the only brand of maraschino liqueur, is by far the most famous and most sought-after. It has a nutty aroma (from the crushed pits of the cherry, which is distilled along with the fruit and leaves), with only hints of cherry. The flavor, too, is nutty and sweet with notes of sour and bitter cherry and an herbal character. It plays a major role in dozens of classic cocktails, including the Aviation, Brooklyn Cocktail, La Floridita Daiquiri, Blood and Sand, Dubonnet Fizz, Pousse-Cafè and Rainbow Pousse-Cafè, Singapore Sling, Tuxedo and The Last Word.

 
Dubonnet Rouge PDF Print E-mail
Featured Spirits - Liqueurs

a picture of Dubonnet Rouge
Dubonnet Co., USA
38 proof


Dubonnet is a blend of fortified wine, herbs, spices, peels & quinine. Yes, quinine. Because of quinine’s malaria-fighting capabilities, Dubonnet was originally developed in 1846 by Parisian chemist Joseph Dubonnet as a means to make the tonic more palatable (even enjoyable) to French Foreign Legion troops stationed in North Africa. The blend proved popular & took off as an aperitif wine (often mixed with lemon) & later in the cocktail scene as a preferred sweet vermouth.

Dubonnet has aromas of cherry, mint, lemon & spices & a big sweet flavor of cherry, red berries & orange. Undertones of various herbs & spices, as well as roasty hints of chocolate and coffee, are also present. There is a slight bitterness from the herbs and quinine, but Dubonnet is primarily sweet.

Because it is a vermouth, Dubonnet can be substituted as an ingredient in a huge assortment of cocktails, from the Manhattan to the Negroni. As an aperitif, it is consumed straight, on the rocks, mixed with citrus juice (usually lemon), soda water, or in a simple cocktail (single spirit). It is said that Queen Elizabeth II takes a Dubonnet & gin (70/30 split) everyday before lunch. It can also be mixed into more complex cocktails & is a primary ingredient in the Arnaud’s Special Cocktail, Blackthorn Cocktail, Blue Paradise, Dandy Cocktail & Sanctuary cocktail.

 
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