There are moments when I fell a little strange as a blogger. Because if you write an article in 2019 about a product that has enjoyed an incredibly high media presence in the bar world in recent years and even received the Mixology Bar Award for the best European bar product in 2017, then of course what you are doing has little to do with topicality or the latest trends. But then again it is not my ultimate claim to be as up-to-date as possible. (provided test product)*
Nevertheless, I am of course happy to be able to write about today’s bottle – with a certain delay. And this bottle is the Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto. This sonorous name is basically a creation of the Italian vermouth connoisseur Giuseppe Gallo. However, it is not only a new creation, but also the renaissance of a liqueur category: the Rosolios. Rosolios are Italian rose liqueurs that enjoyed great popularity during the Renaissance era. However, the Rosolio di Bergamotto does not mainly focus on roses, but on bergamots. But one after the other.
For Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, bergamots from Calabria, Sicilian cedars, lemon balm, yellow rose petals, chamomile, lavender and other herbs (all from Italy) are processed into a liqueur with fruity, fresh and rather light aromas. The finished liqueur is then bottled at an ABV of 20%. Apropos bottle: Here, the Italicus will easily catch your attention! Giuseppe Gallo designed the bottle in collaboration with a design agency. The turquoise bottle has 20 curves representing the 20 regions of Italy (the whole thing reminds a little of the bottle design of the Hibiki Whisky from Suntory). On the lid of the bottle there is a representation of Bacchus with bergamots in his hands, designed in the style of the Vitruvian man by Leonardo da Vinci – oh yes: the colour of the bottle is supposed to symbolize the sea in the Blue Grotto of Capri. In other words, this bottle is painting the town red (respectively turquoise)! Let’s see to what extent this also applies to aroma and taste.
Aroma: Wow, actually there is a lot going on here! Although the aroma remains rather characterized by light and fruity, yet spicy aromas, it really stands out! I find candied lemon peel, spicy bergamot, tea (especially Earl Grey, which is also due to the bergamot), bitter lemon, floral associations (roses and camomile blossoms) and some lavender.
Taste: Also here the Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto convinces me – albeit with a small restriction: First I find the floral notes, which are more superficial on the palate, rose blossoms and lavender again, but then also very nice bitter notes, candied citrus fruits, candied ginger and bergamot. A really great overall picture – only the sweetness is simply too dominant for me to enjoy it neat. For me, the Italicus is first and foremost an ingredient for drinks.
Finish: citrus peels, bitter tones with a little gentian and rose petals again, medium long.
As much as the Italicus is praised as a bar ingredient, the tasting made me realize that it is a relatively delicate spirit. You have to work with a certain sense of proportion and sensitivity. You certainly shouldn’t expect to bring out all the facets of the liqueur in every cocktail, because the other players of the orchestra that is your drink will beset the Italicus. Nevertheless, they won’t dominate it completely – if the Italicus were not there, something decisive would be missing! At least that was the theory that went through my head during my experiments and considerations. In the end, I created a drink with spicy, sour, sweet and bitter notes, which offers a whole range of aromas, but still refreshing and light in the end. I simply named the drink Giardino all’italiana – simply because it reminded me of a green Italian garden and is also a little inspired by it. In addition to the Italicus itself, the earthy and herbaceous Plymouth Navy Strength Gin is used, as well as fresh lime, freshly squeezed celery juice and Coriander Bitters.
Recipe “Giardino all’italiana”:
3 cl Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
3 cl Plymouth Navy Strength Gin
2,5 cl fresh celery juice (from the juicer!)
2 cl lime juice
1 bar spoon sugar syrup
2 Dashes Bob’s Coriander Bitters
Preparation: Shake all ingredients vigorously on ice and strain into a pre-cooled glass filled with fresh ice.
Garnish: celery leaves
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online
*The fact that this product has been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.