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Published on April 9th, 2012 | by Greg


Citrus Liqueurs: Oranges And Lemons

Ah, Italy. Home to some of the finest wines, and near the top of the list for culi­nary in­ven­tions. Where would we be with­out piz­za or pas­ta, mari­nara or al­fre­do or pesto. Sure, they can’t take all of the cred­it for these in­no­va­tions, but they can al­most cer­tain­ly do so for our three types of liqueur to­day. Tart, zesty, tangy, we have been sip­ping these love­ly al­co­holic bev­er­ages over the past few weeks, and now that Spring is in full bloom and sum­mer ap­proach­es, it’s time to get your glass­es ready for these di­ges­tifs.

We’ll start with Ven­tu­ra Limon­cel­lo and Or­ange­cel­lo, hand­craft­ed in Cal­i­for­nia. The pack­ag­ing was mod­ern and classy, and both have won ma­jor awards at the San Fran­cis­co World Spir­its Com­pe­ti­tion (Gold for Limon­cel­lo and Dou­ble Gold for the Or­ange­cel­lo in 2011). They claim to make the high­est-rat­ed Amer­i­can limon­cel­lo, com­bin­ing a three-gen­er­a­tion lega­cy with a West Coast style. And though we haven’t seen it wide­ly on this coast, as their dis­tri­bu­tion if fo­cused on the oth­er coast, we hope to soon- both were im­pres­sive in­deed. Best serve chilled, we al­so com­bined each with a few mix­ers to at­tempt some cock­tails, like the Dev­il’s Breath, which us­es vod­ka and a fair hit of bit­ters to make a pow­er­ful­ly strong drink. In­ter­est­ing­ly, we learned that the ori­gins of these liqueurs are not clear- even the date of limon­cel­lo’s cre­ation is quot­ed as “more than a hun­dred years ago”. Frankly, if you’re in Ari­zona, Cal­i­for­nia, Alas­ka, or Ore­gon, you should def­i­nite­ly seek ei­ther or both of these out, de­pend­ing on your pref­er­ence. The or­ange was ac­tu­al­ly pre­ferred straight, but is a bit hard­er to pair or mix. Ei­ther way, ex­pect to spend around $15 for 375 mL.

Il Tra­mon­to’s Limon­cel­lo of­fered an in­ter­est­ing con­trast. More “old-world” and tra­di­tion­al­ly pack­aged, their lemons are picked from the Amal­fi coast of Italy. This one wasn’t as in­tense, a lit­tle more mild and less sweet/tart, with a bit of a Mey­er lemon feel. Dry­er and lighter, our tasters liked but didn’t love this one. But it did pair bet­ter with cham­pagne, and didn’t over­whelm any fresh fruit that was added. We made a ver­sion of the Limon­Bel­la, a nice brunch drink or post-din­ner light cock­tail, and the Il Tra­mon­to worked great. Avail­able for around $16 for 750 mL.

Fi­nal­ly, back to or­anges. The “cel­los” may not have their fam­i­ly his­to­ry down, but Bauchant Liqueur does. Cognac mak­ers from 1838, this is a triple-dis­tilled grape brandy with both sweet and bit­ter or­anges added. 80 proof, it’s sip­pable, and re­view­ers all praised the del­i­cate aro­mat­ics. Fur­ther, the fla­vors work well in bak­ing and cook­ing, adding a love­ly col­or and caramel or­ange note to sauces or pan­cakes or choco­late pas­tries. Sure, it’s sim­i­lar to Grand Marnier or Coin­treau, both of which are the same proof, but we found it su­pe­ri­or for many us­es. The fla­vors were clean­er and crisper, and the Bauchant was def­i­nite­ly bet­ter than the oth­ers went served straight- though in cof­fee or mar­gar­i­tas, most pre­ferred oth­ers. It’s cheap­er by a fair mar­gin; ex­pect to spend close to $25 for 750 mL.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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