Happy Hour Tuesday: Limoncello Martini

Rometti Limoncello Martini

Dear Reader,

If you are one of those people who enjoy treating themselves every now and then to a fancy night out, then you are going to love this addition of Happy Hour Tuesday!

Martinis has been around for centuries, yet there is no specific person we can thank for such a glamorous drink. Theories attribute Martinis to a drink named Martinez and originated in San Francisco back in the 1860s, but other rumors link its origin to the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City. What we know for sure is that Prohibition increased the popularity of Martinis in the 20th century, when gin was the easiest spirit to manufacture illegally.

But Martini fans are often split between the choice: gin or vodka?

Classic Martini is actually a mixture of gin and vermouth, of floral taste and herbal aromas, often served with an olive or a lemon twist. You can have it dry, sweet or dirty. If instead of gin you use vodka, then you have a variation of Martini, called Vodka Martini and best known as James Bond’s cocktail: “Vodka Martini. Shaken, not stirred“(from the movie Goldfinger). It’s in the 1970s that Vodka Martini with its fruity variations gains more popularity in North America, and booms in the 1980s with the come back of appreciation for cigars, fine spirits, aperitifs and red meat.

If you like fruity drinks but want to stick to something classy, then the Rometti Limoncello Martini is the answer to your palate. It’s quite easy to make, yet its sophisticated taste makes it a vibrant drink that adds a hint of fanciness to your nights out.

Ingredients:

3 oz vodka

1 oz Rometti Limoncello 

1 teaspoon simple syrup

Lemon twist, to garnish

Mix the vodka, Rometti Limoncello, and simple syrup in a shaker half filled with ice. Shake well and serve in a martini glass garnish with a lemon twist. Before pouring the contents in the glass you could also dip the glass first in lemon juice and then in sugar.

~ENJOY!!

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Happy Hour Tuesday: Campari Smash

Rometti Campari Smash

Hello Everyone!

I’m proud to introduce  Happy Hour Tuesday, our weekly review of drinks, cocktails, shots, punches, aperitifs.

This week we picked Campari Smash, the perfect mixture of bitterness and sweetness, tanginess and freshness that come together in this appealing cocktail. As the name suggests, the main ingredient is Campari, an Italian aperitif that has been around since the 1860s and is obtained from the infusion of fruit and herbs with alcohol and water. The herbal essences give that sharp bitterness that is typical of Campari and other bitters, which make them suitable both as a predinner  aperitif mixed with other ingredients, and as digestifs.

There are quite a few different recipes for Campari Smash, we would like to share with you the one that uses Limoncello, which adds a hint of sweetness to the astringent taste of Campari, creating a savory, zesty, harmonic blend. With every sip, alone or in good company, Campari Smash with its warm, distinctive, red color will bring a little bit of Summer all year long!

Ingredients (as given by Forbes.com that in 2006 classified Campari Smash among the  Ten Cool Summer Cocktails):

4 lemon wedges, seeds removed if possible
1 1/4 ounces Campari
3/4 ounces Rometti Limoncello

Muddle the lemons in a shaker. Add Campari and Rometti Limoncello. Shake lightly. Serve in a rocks glass.

ENJOY!

Rometti Limoncello, Old World Passion, New World Memories.

Now that we have grown up and have become, lawyers, designers, architects, teachers, bankers or any number of other careers,  we all share one aspect of our grown up life, nothing beats the taste of Mom’s cooking.

I grew up up in Italy where every day was considered a special occasion to sit down even if for only 30 minutes to have lunch or dinner with the family. Of course, at the time, I didn’t come to realize how precious that time was. I hadn’t travelled enough, or spent much time abroad to immerse myself in another culture to compare it with anything else I had seen.  It wasn’t until I moved to the United States did I start to experience the stress of long busy days, that time to just sit down and have dinner with all the people you cared about became rushed, and many times impossible. It made me understand why my Mom and Dad felt so strongly about our “special occasion” dinners or lunches.  It was a time to reflect on the day, and no mater how difficult or stressful it was we could laugh and turn the page.

I remember Sunday lunches vividly, our whole family would sit around a wooden craft table (that my Dad and Uncle built), and talk for hours, it would seem that lunch never really ended after we finished eating.  We still sat there, recalling memories of our childhoods, expressing our hopes for the future, and making each other’s own troubles feel so small they became irrelevant.  While talking we sipped home made Limoncello served in frosted shot glasses.  The summer months made this treat especially refreshing.

I was lucky enough to meet, years later, an inspiring man who came to appreciate of all of the traditions of my home country. He immediately fell in love with the colorful, surreal Italian landscape. It was during one of our trips to Tuscany, amazed by the rolling hills that inspired some of the most famous artists and artisans of our time, that we started thinking of a way to bring back a piece of Italy to the US, and relive all the great memories we shared.

In the memory of those rolling hills, and the joyful time we’ve shared around a table with our friends and family, and the irreplaceable good taste of my Mom’s cooking, we created Rometti a combination of our two last names that is based on hand crafted traditions that have been enjoyed in Italy for hundreds of years.

As my soon to be husband  says: “As an American I had never experienced any liqueur quite like Limoncello, and after my many trips to Italy I soon discovered the true joy, and celebration that comes with enjoying this refreshing complement to an afternoon or evening. Year’s later I find myself engaged to a wonderful Italian women who brought this old receipt to life here in the US for all to enjoy. Our goal is to create a memory for you and your family just as we have and will continue to do for years to come.”.

There may not ever be anything as good as your Mom’s cooking, but we sure hope that you will find our hand crafted products made with the same love and care that you would find in your most cherished moments around the dinner table, now and forever.

Cheers to old world passion, and new world memories.

~Rometti

Interesting New Spirits – As seen in Wine and Spirits Magazine

Firelit Coffee Liqueur
Firelit Coffee Liqueur, made in Alameda, California by St. George Spirits distiller Dave Smith and business partner Jeff Kessenjer. By blending aged and unaged grape brandy—usually chardonnay, zinfandel or syrah—cane sugar and cold-brewed coffee sourced from small roasters in the San Francisco Bay Area, they’ve created a coffee liqueur that drinks like a lightly sweetened cup of robust espresso.

—Lou Bustamante

Firelit, 30% abv., $50; Firelit Spirits, Alameda, CA (reviewed W&S, 02/12)


Tempus Fugit Créme de Cacao & Créme de Menthe
Meanwhile, Tempus Fugit has taken on crémes, sweeter liqueurs that have gotten a bad rap from all the vile-colored, artificially flavored versions on the market. Their Créme de Cacao is distilled from cacao beans and then macerated with more cacao and vanilla, giving the pleasantly sweet liqueur an intense, pure chocolate flavor. The Créme de Menthe, a blend of distilled botanicals and mint, makes for a deeply flavored, straw-hued spirit balanced toward the savory end of sweet. Combine both with a generous splash of cream for a seriously delicious Grasshopper.

—Lou Bustamante

Tempus Fugit Créme de Cacao & Créme de Menthe, 24 and 28% abv., $29.99 each; Tempus Fugit Spirits, Petaluma, CA (reviewed W&S, 02/12)


Rhuby
In Philadelphia, the creative minds at Art in the Age have created Rhuby, inspired by a tea the 18th century botanist John Bartman produced after Benjamin Franklin sent him rhubarb seeds. The spirit, like Bartman’s Garden Tea, combines the tart sweetness of the red stalks with carrots, beets, pink peppercorns and other unusual additions. It’s bright and tart, a spirit that almost demands fruit pie.

—Lou Bustamante

Rhuby, 40% abv., $32.99; Art in the Age, Philadelphia, PA (reviewed W&S, 02/12)


Rabarbaro Zucca
For those whose tastes run less sweet, there is a slew of newly available Italian bitter liqueurs. One of the most striking is Zucca Amaro, from the town of Saronno right outside of Milan, best known for amaretti cookies and amaretto liqueur. Rather than the almond notes of those specialties, Zucca Amaro is based on a Chinese variety of rhubarb. The opposite end of the spectrum from Rhuby, it’s smoky and spicy as a Chinese herbalist’s shop, dusty with ginseng and light menthol flavor. Amazingly light on bitterness despite its dark color, it mixes fantastically well with tonic water.

—Lou Bustamante

Rabarbaro Zucca, 16% abv., $29; Haus Alpenz USA, Manhasset, NY (reviewed W&S, 02/12)


Cardamaro
Far less aggressive but just as interesting is Cardamaro, from Piedmont. With cardoons and thistle for flavor over a wine base, it’s fairly light (only 17 percent abv). There’s a hint of bitterness to contrast bright citrus and a remarkable amontillado Sherry-like flavor. With its herbal and vegetal flavors interlaced with spice and its delicate sweetness, it works equally well as an aperitivo or a digestivo.

—Lou Bustamante

Cardamaro, 17% abv., $24; Haus Alpenz USA, Manhasset, NY (reviewed W&S, 02/12)


Amaro Sibilla
From hilly Marche comes one of the most fascinating Italian bitter liqueurs: Amaro Sibilla. Distilled over wood fires and bittered by both gentian and cinchona, it has smokiness that registers as coffee and chocolate intensity combined with a brighter menthol note, ending on a lip-sticking dark honey flavor.

—Lou Bustamante

Amaro Sibilla, 34% abv., $55; Domaine Select Wine Estates, New York, NY (reviewed W&S, 02/12)


Leopold Bros. Fernet
Great amaros aren’t exclusive to Italy: Colorado also boasts one. Leopold Brothers, known for their small-batch whiskies, liqueurs and gin, have recently introduced Leopold Bros. Fernet, a fernet-style amaro. Instead of referencing any historical recipe, brothers Todd and Scott started with bitter aloe as their foundation and included ginger, dandelion, citrus, mint, cocoa, vanilla and fresh flowers among the botanicals. To add a particularly American signature, they added sarsaparilla root and sweetened it with molasses. Quite floral, it tastes like a lighter version of Italian fernets, with the bitterness in the mid-palate retreating into refreshing menthol flavor.

—Lou Bustamante

Leopold Bros. Fernet, 40% abv., $35; Leopold Bros., Denver, CO (reviewed W&S, 02/12)


St. George Terroir Gin (Mt. Tam edition)
St. George Spirits distiller Lance Winters has gone to great lengths to capture the essence of place in the new Mt. Tam edition of his gin, harvesting wild juniper berries, California bay laurel, coastal sage and Douglas fir tips from the forests of Marin. The addition of wok-roasted spices and citrus peels serves to establish a traditional gin foundation for what drinks and feels like a foggy stroll through the redwood groves. If you’re feeling rugged, add some ice and nothing more; if not, enjoy it with seltzer or ginger ale to avoid clear-cutting the flavors.

—Lou Bustamante

St. George Spirits, Alameda, CA; $36/750ml, (reviewed W&S, 12/11)


The Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 3
Previously only available at The Balvenie Distillery in Speyside, Scotland, Tun 1401 Single Malt Whisky by master blender David Stewart has made it way to the US in limited quantities. The hand-picked selection of The Balvenie rarest whiskies—some going as far back as the 1960s—are combined and rested for four months in the wooden blending tank named Tun 1401. The resulting single-malt whisky is deeply spiced with plenty of brown sugar flavor, menthol-like salinity and a richness that makes it smooth straight out of the bottle despite the high alcohol.

—Lou Bustamante

(50% alcohol by volume), William Grant & Sons USA, NY; $250/750ml, (reviewed W&S,12/11)


Suntory Hakushu Japanese Whisky
With a trio of whiskies already available in the US—the Yamazaki 12 and 18 years, and the blended Hibiki—Suntory’s fourth release is the first single malt made entirely from the company’s Hakushu distillery. Located deep in the forests of Mt. Kaikomagatake, in southern Japan, the distillery ages this 12-year-old whisky in a combination of used American oak barrels, Sherry butts and Japanese oak barrels. The finished product is distinctively crisp and lightly smoky, with a pleasant fragrance from the Japanese wood.

—Lou Bustamante

Skyy Spirits, NY; $65/750ml, (reviewed W&S, 12/11)


Great King St. Artist’s Blend
Single-malt drinkers often frown on blended Scotch whiskies, but Master blender John Glaser of Compass Box aims to change that with Great King St., a new series of blended Scotch whisk-ies. His first release, Artist’s Blend, is about half Highland and Speyside single malts combined with aged Lowland grain whisky; then it settles into an array of new French oak casks, first-fill American barrels and ex-Sherry butts before going into the bottle at a potent 43 percent ABV. The end result is rich, round and fruity with hints of toasty oak, vanilla and spice. It’s designed to be enjoyed straight, but it also works well with a little sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters for a classic Rob Roy.

—Lou Bustamante

Compass Box USA, Manhasset, NY; $45/750ml, (reviewed W&S, 12/11)


Brugal Rum 1888
When fifth generation distiller Gustavo Ortega Zeller set out to create an elegant expression of his family’s rum, he took a page from Scotch producers and used a combination of American oak and Sherry barrels to age the molasses-based spirit. Blended from 5- to 14-year-old casks, the 1888 is almost ruby amber in color and filled with caramel, dried fruit, spice and toasty flavors that make this drink like a fine brandy.

—Lou Bustamante

Rémy Cointreau USA, New York, NY; $49/750ml, (reviewed W&S, 12/11)