You may have seen the instantly recognisable bottle popping up on the best back bars around the country, places like Sydney’s Maybe Frank. You may have heard bartenders talking about it in forums overseas, or seen it listed on the best cocktail lists you’ve been spying on from around the world.
And now, thanks to Think Spirits, ITALICUS is breaking into Australia in a big way. The question is, just what is this drink and how are you going to use it?
Giuseppe Gallo is the creator of ITALICUS, and for him, it’s been something of a lifelong project that he’s seen come to fruition.
Here’s how he suggests you might explain it to your guests.
“As the original Aperitivo from Italy,” Gallo explains, “before vermouth or amari, all Italians used to drink one beverage: the rosolio!”
Rosolio, for the uninitiated, is a group of Italian liqueurs that was traditionally made from an aromatic, carnivorous flower, but these days is made with ingredients like bergamot (as is the case with ITALICUS). Many regions in Italy have a certain style of rosolio with the botanicals changing from place to place.
But when introducing ITALICUS to your guests for the first time, Gallo recommends explaining it in a way that is familiar to them.
“Champion the bergamot citrus orange as the top note — most people are familiar with it from earl grey tea — and with a floral hint and pleasantly bitter aftertaste,” he says.
With an ingredient that is so new to many bartenders, it helps to get some guidance on how to use it — and ITALICUS is finding its way into a wide range of drinks.
“ITALICUS is like a salt in the kitchen for the chef, a little pinch everywhere makes the drink more tasty!” Explains Gallo.
He’s found bartenders adding a dash to classic cocktails — like in the Negroni Bianco we have here — and to drinks that have a whack of effervescence to them.
“It works so well with effervescent sodas, prosecco or even — and this is my favourite — IPA beer,” Gallo says.
So to get you started on your way with ITALICUS, we asked Gallo for a few of his favourite recipes: here, we’ve got the aforementioned Negroni Bianco (you want a punchy London Dry Gin style to make the ITALICUS pop); a spruce up of the classic Gin & It; and a drink we know your guests are going to get around (it’s a great introduction to the stuff), the ITALICUS Spritz.
Serve in a tumbler, and enjoy.
Championing the humble bergamot fruit, Italicus is produced at a family-owned distillery established in 1906 in Moncalieri, Torino. Bergamot from the UNESCO-protected area in the Calabrian region and cedro from Sicilia are infused in cold water to release their essential oils, in a time honoured process called Sfumatura, before being blended with Italian neutral grain spirit.
A delicate combination of Roman chamomile from Lazio, lavender, gentian, yellow roses and melissa balm from Northern Italy are then macerated together for several days before being married with the bergamot and cedro essential oils to create the final liquid.
For more information contact Nicole Reid from Think Spirits on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on +61 2 4577 7800.