written by Jim Hargreaves*
Limoncello is a difficult spirit to review … much like the glass it is often served in, it has an inherently narrow profile. Take some fruit, steep in ethanol, add sugar, and limoncello is born. However, it is exactly this singular focus — the lemon — which makes this liqueur such a challenge to create without revealing subtle flaws, and likewise, so brilliantly delicious to imbibe when made right
Limoncello di Capri is crafted using organic lemons strictly harvested from the Italian islands of Capri and Sorrento, using a cold infusion process, without artificial colors or additives. Long story short … it’s the real deal. In fact, the brand was the first to patent the term “limoncello”, using a recipe that was handed down from the drink’s original creator, Vincenza Canale. Canale, an innkeeper on the isle of Capri, first served the elixir to her guests in the early 1900s.
While the packaging appears generic compared to other premium spirits, the vessel belies the quality of the liquid contained within. Limoncello di Capri pours a milky, pale yellow, rich color, though not as brilliant as others. It’s a hue deserving of a hot summer day, though, quite frankly, drinking a good limoncello is just as enjoyable in the depth of winter. (Hey, you can’t sit around waiting for the weather to change to write a review!) The aroma is bright and fragrant, with a clear hint of alcohol. Keep in mind, limoncello is often upwards of 60+ proof — a wolf in really delicious sheep’s clothing. There is a distinctly sharp citrus character in the nose, though the scent of sweet sugar and lemon oil found in some of the best examples is rather subdued. All in all, breathing in the vapor certainly entices one to take a healthy sip.
The taste, obviously of lemon, is lighter and crisper than many lesser brands, washing away cleanly and quickly prompting the next swig. A boozy burn comes through quickly as the spirit meanders down the throat. The flavor is long and lasting, with a noticeable bite and a slightly dry finish. Above all, there is the fruit, clean and striking and strong in a way as to make your cheeks salivate. Simple yet delicious. If you could squeeze a yellow sun until it dripped with nectar, one might imagine it to taste of good limoncello.
For those seeking an entry into world of this famed Italian spirit, Limoncello di Capri is a more than a suitable offering. A bit bold, and lacking some of the subtleties of more balanced makes like Villa Massa, it is nevertheless mouthwatering, and like any good limoncello, unapologetically focused. Find a patio, some friends, and try a sip … and presto (as the Italians would say).
Serving Suggestion: Store in the freezer and serve cold, straight, in a cordial glass or small champagne flute
For recipes, visit www.limoncello.com/en/ricette_
Ask for Limoncello di Capri at your local liquor store as it has only recently been imported in to the US.