Il Gusto di Amalfi Limoncello Liqueur
Our friend and winemaker from the Amalfi Coast, Luigi Reale, introduced us to Valentino Esposito and Mario Anastasio, who make our liqueurs under the label ‘Il Gusto di Amalfi.’ Their small facility, which looks like a large kitchen, is in the little town of Praiano, just down the coast from Positano. This area is famous for growing amazing citrus, especially lemons; these lemons are grown by Mario and his family and friends.
Most fine wines and spirits are great because of the way they balance different components, but limoncello is different. Limoncello is a pure infusion of lemon peel, and the quality of the limoncello depends on the quality of the lemons. ‘Il Gusto di Amalfi’ is a tiny company that takes organically-grown lemons from the hillsides of the Amalfi Coast (near Tramonti), peels them by hand with potato-peelers in small batches, and macerates them in pure grain alcohol in stainless steel vessels like very small wine tanks. (Commercial limoncello is sometimes bitter, a sign that the pith of the fruit has been accidentally included with the zest; hand-peeling avoids this.) The variety of lemon is ‘Sfusato Amalfitano’, and the groves are owned and farmed by Mario Anastasio’s friends and family. This limoncello is pure expression of an excellent raw material, and that’s it. Drink cold but not iced as a digestivo; the liqueur may need to be shaken occasionally to mix in the lemon oils that rise to the top. I bet this would also make a killer Tom Collins with some good Gin.