A-Z Spirits and Liqueurs: L is for Limoncello

Dreaming of sunshine and long hot summer evenings which seem so long ago, this week’s post seems appropriate as I hear stories of friends winding up their summer travels in Europe – yes, Tipple Tipple’s Laura this means you! – particularly along the stunning Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy.

What is it? Bright yellow in colour, Limoncello is a an intensely lemony Italian liqueur made from the zest and peel of big, ripe, juicy Mediterranean, usually Sorrento lemons. Produced mainly in Southern Italy around the Gulf of Naples, Amalfi Coast and islands of Capri and Ischia, this popular liqueur is very strong, very sweet, and very satisfying. Limoncello is made using a combination of ground lemon rinds washed in water, grain alcohol, and sugar and is distilled for at least 80 days.

How can I enjoy it? Limoncello is traditionally served as a ‘digestivo’ after a meal, or with dessert, in a small ceramic beaker or a chilled cordial glass.  This zesty, potent liqueur (usually around 31-31% abv) is delicious when paired with Italian desserts, such as Tiramisu, a pear tarte, or almost any chocolate concoction. Limoncello may also be served drizzled over ice cream or in cocktails – usually with vodka and tangy cranberry of lime flavours. Keep in the freezer to store! Try this easy-peasy (lemon-squeezy!) recipe from The Nibble:

The Amalfi

Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 1-1/2 ounces citrus vodka
  • 1/2 ounce limoncello
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 sprigs lemon thyme or regular
    thyme

Preparation

  1. Put vodka, limoncello, fresh lime juice and the leaves from one sprig of thyme into a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously.
  2. Strain and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.

I want it! Where can I get it? Available at most good drinks stockists, it’s pretty easy to find. For an easy online purchase, The Drink Shop has a 70cl bottle of Luxardo Limoncello (27% abv) for £18.05.  Various del charges may apply. If you’re lucky enough to make a trip to Italy, pick up the real deal while you’re there. I can personally vouch for the Capri Limoncello – stunning (that includes the view!).

Gorgeous lemon shot from Dan Harrelson‘s photostream on flickr.

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A-Z Spirits and Liqueurs: K is for Kahlúa

What is it? Kahlúa is a coffee flavoured, rum-based liqueur from Mexico. Intensely sweet and with a distinct coffee flavour and a hint of vanilla, it comes in a variety of styles; Original, French Vanilla, Mocha, Hazelnut, Especial and Peppermint Mocha. Whilst not all of these may be available in the UK, the original recipe is incredibly versatile and extremely delicious!

How can I enjoy it? This is one of my favourite liqueurs – may have something to do with the fact I’m a bit of a coffee addict :-) There are so many ways to enjoy Kahlúa – on it’s own with ice or without, in coffee, in cocktails or as a dessert ingredient or sauce.

CLASSIC; White Russian

50ml Vokda, 20ml Kahúa, 30ml fresh cream. Pour Kahlúa and vodka into a tumbler filled with ice. Float fresh cream on top and stir slowly.

CLASSY; Kahlúa Espresso Martini

1.5 parts KAHLÚA
1 part Vodka
1 fresh brewed espresso

Fill a shaker with ice, add Kahlúa, Vodka and a fresh brewed espresso. Shake vigorously, and strain into a chilled martini glass. Legend has it the Kahlúa Espresso Martini was created in the 1980s by a London cocktail guru late one night for a famous supermodel (according to the Kahlúa website!).

CULINARY; Kahlúa Tiramisu with Amaretto Ice Cream

This decadent dessert recipe, orginally on Epicurious, sourced from Yummly, looks like the perfect end to a meal. A traditional Italian dessert containing eggs, sugar, marscarpone cheese, cream, marsala, coffee powder, ladyfinger biscuits and of course Kahlúa, this Tiramisu is a perfect balance of bitter and sweet. A perfect example of how this versatile liqueur may be used to add to an already delicious recipe. For full recipe details, click on the link!

I want it! Where can I get it? One Click Vintage currently has a 70 cl bottle of the regular blend Kahlúa at the special price of £17.08, that’s 25% off their normal price AND the shipping is free. Happy days! But, most UK supermarkets and off licenses stock it, for around £18.

Actually factual: It takes 7 years to create each bottle of Kahlúa, from harvest of the coffee beans, vanilla, and sugar cane to bottle.

Kahlua bottle shot picture from alyssalaurel‘s photostream on flickr.

A-Z Spirits and Liqueurs: J is for Jack Daniels

What is it? Jack Daniel’s is a brand of sour mash Tennessee whiskey – apparently the best selling whiskey in the world. Easy identifiable by it’s square bottle and striking black and white label, the distillery, based in Lynchburg, Moore County, Tennessee, claims a  founding date of 1866. They believe that their product differs from Bourban as it is filtered through sugar maple charcoal in large wooden vats prior to aging, adding a distinctive sweet smoothness. The Old No 7 at 40% abv is their biggest selling product, but their range also includes Gentleman Jack, White Rabbit Saloon and Green Label, as wel the newly released in the UK, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Whiskey Liqueur – Old No 7, blended with honey liqueur to create a spicy, sweet, floral tipple, perfect on its own or with ice – but you could even add a dash to coffee.

How can I enjoy it? Of course, like any spirit, straight, or over ice will give you the truest flavour, but can be a component in a number of cocktails.

 If you have haven’t heard anyone ask for a “JD and Coke” or “Jack and Coke”, where have you been!? Possibly the simplest ‘cocktail’ in the world!

  • 1 part Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
  • 3 parts Coke
  • Serve over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with a slice of lime.

For a fresher twist, try this easy recipe from In-The-Spirit for Lynchburg Lemonade:

  • 1.5 measures Jack Daniel’s
  • 1 measure Triple Sec
  • 1 measure lemon juice
  • Top up with lemonade
  • Shake together the first 3 ingredients with ice and strain into a highball glass half filled with ice. Top up with lemonade. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

I want it! Where can I get it? Although you can buy the orignal Jack Daniel’s Old No 7 almost anywhere, both Jack Daniel’s Original Old No 7 (70cl) and the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Whiskey Liqueur (70cl) are available from The Whisky Exchange, along with an extensive range of Jack Daniel’s products including commemorative bottles.

Actually factual: Moore County, where the distillery is located, is in fact a dry county, and has been since Prohibition so Jack Daniel’s whiskey is not available for consumption at stores or restaurants within the county!

JD bottle shot taken from The Charlie PH’s photostream on flickr.

A-Z Spirits and Liqueurs: I is for Irish Mist

Of course, the obvious answer for the letter ‘I’, is anything Irish – Irish Cream, Irish Whiskey. Yes, I have cheated slighty – can you think of any others?! – but although this is Irish, it’s something a little off the beaten track, and very traditional – the company dating back to 1829.

What is it? The recipe for Irish Mist was originally created as a liqueur based on an ancient recipe, around 1,00 years old, for a beverage known as ‘heather wine’. Made from a base of smooth aged Irish whiskey, heather, honey, herbs and spices, the official Irish Mist website declares this traditional tipple as ‘ridiculously sociable’, which sounds like good fun (although I wasn’t a huge fan of the ‘how fun are you at a party?’ quiz, also on the site!).

How can I enjoy it? Like many spirits and liqueurs, Irish Mist is versatile and can be enjoyed a number of ways.  Try as a long drink with cola and lime, as a shot,  on its own with ice (although at 35% abv, pace yourself!), with ginger ale, or cranberry. To end a meal, why not indulge in an Irish Mist Coffee – this would be my personal choice!

I want it! Where can I get it? Although it doesn’t appear on a lot of shelves, you can easily click-purchase a 70cl bottle of Irish Mist from The Whisky Exchange for £21.25.

Actually factual: The word ‘mist’ is slang in German for ‘manure’ or ‘excrement’…Irish Manure anyone?! Fortunately for us English speakers the thought does not even cross our minds before sipping this tipple.

A-Z Spirits and Liqueurs: H is for HPNOTIQ

Now I will admit that I did struggle to think of a post for the letter H, but  have been struck by this electric blue liqueur, apparently popular in the United States. Admittedly I haven’t yet tried it, but the colour is reminiscent of a girls’ night out, low light nightclubs and dancing ’til dawn and I am intrigued to give it a go!

What is it? This eye-catching aqua blue liqueur is a blend of French vodka and exotic fruit juices, with a touch of Cognac. Predominantly aimed at women 21-35, this has been endorsed by a number of high-profile female celebs and has certainly caught my eye. Recently, Hpnotiq has also released new line, Hpnotiq Harmonie – vibrant violet in colour, it’s a blend of infused berries, violet and lavender.

How can I enjoy it? Serve chilled on its own (don’t worry, its only 17% abv!), or with vodka, coconut rum (this would be my choice!) or Champagne, to keep it classic. Try Hpnotiq Harmonie with a splash of club soda, with Champagne or add to vodka-cranberry for an interesting twist. As with any liqueur, it can also be used in a number of cocktails – see the Recipe page on the Hpnotiq website for yummy concoctions!

 I want it! Where can I get it? Although I’ve not yet seen this on a shelf in the UK (I’m sure I would’ve noticed it!), there are a number of online retailers. Drink Supermarket stocks both HPNOTIQ Original and HPNOTIQ Harmonie for £18.88 for a 70cl bottle (delivery charges payable).

Actually factual: “Hpnotiq was created by Raphael Yakoby in 2001, a college dropout living with his parents on Long Island, New York, who, after seeing a blue perfume at Bloomingdale’s, decided to create a blue liqueur.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hpnotiq

Sparkly bottle shot taken from Sam Ford’s photostream on flickr.

A-Z Spirits and Liqueurs: G is for Grappa

Now, it would have been easy for me to say G is for Gin, but we already have a little obsession with gin and frequently post about different flavoured gins that pop up around the place, so I’ve gone for something different!

What is it? Grappa is a Northern Italian grape-based brandy, traditionally made from pomace – the stalks and seeds which are a by-product of the normal winemaking process.  Its firey, at 40-60% abv, but has been developed to become tastier than the original product, which was made around 15th century to warm up the farmers and peasants who were out in the cool Italian winters.

How can I enjoy it? Serve as a slightly chilled shot after a meal, sipping slowly from a tulip shaped glass, or in a ‘caffe corretto’, ‘corrected coffee’, by adding to a shot of esspresso for true Italian sophistication. Like many spirits, it can also be used in a number of cocktails, but I think this one is unique, and best served on its own.

I want it! Where can I get it? Like wine, there are a number of different producers making Grappa, even as far as Australia. For a little bit of Italy at your next dinner party, serve Nardini Bianco Grappa – Italy’s best selling premium Grappa, which is well balanced with notes of jasmine tea and honey. At 50%, its fiesty, but take your time and sip slow – it is also thought to aid digestion. You can pick up a 70cl for £34.99 from online retailer The Drink Shop.  For pretty Grappa serving glasses, you can’t go past this bargain on Amazon. At £14.99 for six 90ml glasses, they are not just for Grappa, but could also be used for other fruit brandies and maybe even Limoncello…..L is for…. !

Actually factual: Although Grappa can only be labelled so if sourced and produced in Italy, the French equivalent is Marc – such as Champagne can only be labelled Champagne if it is from that region.  Much Grappa production is packaged in fancy bottles to enitce buyers (namely tourists) but producers insist it is not to mask the frightfully potent blend which it contains! I’m game if you are… !

Pretty Grappa bottles picture taken from Paul and Jill’s photostream on flickr.

A-Z Spirits and Liqueurs: F is for Frangelico

Despite the fact I appear to be allergic to raw hazelnuts, I am very pleased that this does not extend to anything hazelnut flavoured, in particular, Frangelico. So versatile is this liqueur, it can be enjoyed in winter or summer; to warm you up or cool you down; long or short and in sweet or savoury dishes. If there was one tipple to have in your cupboard year round, I’d say this is it!

What is it? Frangelico is a traditional liqueur made in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, dating back over 300 years to the time of early Christian monks in the area. Wild hazelnuts, crushed and toasted, are infused with vanilla and cocoa, to make a pale gold liqueur with a delicate hazelnut flavour and hints of dark chocolate. Its signature bottle is an obvious nod to a distinctive history, shaped like a monk’s habit with a rope tied around the middle, making it easy to spot on endless shelves of spirits and liqueurs.

How can I enjoy it? At 20% abv its sensible enough to enjoy on its own after dinner, poured over a tumbler of ice, but can also be added to coffee, mixed in a number of cocktails, dashed into delicious desserts or even used in savoury dishes.

I LOVE Frangelico in coffee and it is so easy! This quickie Hazelnut Coffee, is from the Frangelico website, but could easily make it without the cream if you dont feel like indulging!

  • 30ml/1oz Frangelico
  • Coffee
  • Cream
  • Chocolate flakes

Stir 30ml. Frangelico into your favourite hot coffee. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate flakes.

If you do feel like induldging, this absolute cracker of a cocktail from Mix That Drink is practically a meal repalcement, but totally worth it!

Liquid Snickers

  • 1 ounce (30ml shot) dark creme de cacao
  • 1/2 ounce (15ml) Irish cream
  • 1/2 ounce (15ml) Frangelico
  • 1/2 ounce (15ml) light cream

Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice cubes. Pour the three liquor ingredients over the ice. Finish by topping with the light cream. Serve with a stir straw (it looks cool), or stir before serving.Try munching on some peanuts with this one – it enhances the Snickers flavors, and the salty makes a great contrast to that sweetness.

For true absolute decadence you can always rely on Nigella Lawson to come up trumps. This Nigella recipe for Frangelico Tiramisu is a sure fire dinner party hit, but be sure to set some exercise time aside the next day!

  •  1 cup espresso coffee, 1 cup Frangelico hazlenut liqueur, plus more for the filling
  •   2 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/4 cup Frangelico hazlenut liqueur
  • 1 pound (2 cups) mascarpone
  • 30 Savoiardi biscuits (lady fingers), approx. 14 ounces
  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts
  • 3 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

See link for directions on how to make!

I want it! Where can I get it? Pick up a 70cl bottle of Frangelico for £18.14 at easy online One Click Vintage. They offer free UK shipping for orders over £35.00 so why not pick up a few liquid essentials while you’re there. If you fancy trying the Liquid Snickers, they also sell Creme de Cacao for around £12 and Irish Cream starting at around £7.

Actually factual: The name Frangelico is based on the legend of a hermit called Fra Angelico who created his own unique liqueur recipes.

Frangelico bottle shot image taken from Geoff Penaluna’s photostream on flickr.