Monday, 22 September 2014

Stellacello 'Pompelmo' Liqueur

Remember a couple of weeks ago when we told you about a British Limoncello from Demijohn Liquid Deli? Well, we’ve discovered another cracking ‘cello; Stellacello’s signature Pompelmo Liqueur.

Created by Joe Stella in East London’s Bethnal Green, the Pompelmo Liqueur is an inspired – and dare I say it, more interesting – take on the traditional Italian Limoncello. Using grapefruit as opposed to lemons, the citrusy fresh tipple can be enjoyed as a classic apertivo or digestivo, or even as a unique cocktail component. For the keen eyed food/drink folk amongst you, you may well have spotted Stellacello being served at this year’s YBFs (Young British Foodies), which took place earlier this month.

Grapefruit might have had a bit of a bad rep in the past; it’s that old school virtuous healthy breakfast option – just half though, heaven forbid – and we’ve all seen those limp segments lurking in a bowl in the hotel breakfast bar. Well, I think we’ve moved on from that now, and Stellacello’s Pompelmo Liqueur is a fine example of making good use of the fruit.

I foolishly presumed that the liqueur would be of a similar appearance to Limoncello, expecting a cloudy pastel liquid, tinged pink thanks to its grapefruit-y contents. But no, this is much more refined; a clear honey-amber colour, which wafts sweet zesty aromas as its poured. This drink has style, and you can tell that from its amazing label; any booze with Jesus on has got to be good, right?

My other half seriously dislikes anything to do with grapefruit, but this he really enjoyed. There’s no lingering bitterness that you get with the fresh fruit, and no unusual peel-like taste that you can often pick up in Limoncellos. It’s a well rounded drink which slips down so smoothly, yet it still packs a boozy punch in its percentage – 28%.

After sipping it neat, straight from the freezer as recommended, I decided to try it out in cocktail form. The Stella Spritz, which takes the Pompelmo Liqueur and tops it with Prosecco and a splash of soda, featured on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch for their ‘summer aperitif’ drinks section in May 2014, and also British GQ Magazine in July as one of the ‘three London aperitifs you need to sample this summer’. Lengthening it with the crisp, peachy sparkling wine brings out more of a sweet citrus flavour, and it develops a delicious orange-y marmalade scent. Still retaining the overall signature grapefruit tart-ness, it’s a refreshing alternative to a traditional spritz, and I can imagine its versatility would make for a lot of interesting cocktails.

If you’re out and about in London, Stellacello is served in some of the best places; Polpo Group (Polpo, Polpetto, Spuntino, Ape& Bird), Ottolenghi Islington, Groucho Club Soho, Lardo Hackney, Coppa (Roof Top Pop Up) Hackney, Pizza East various locations, Forge&Co Shoreditch, London Cocktail Club, Sager+Wilde Shoreditch, The Gun Hackney and The Prince Stoke Newington. It’s also available outside the capital at Salt House Bacaro Liverpool. I suggest you grab a bite to eat and treat yourself to a fine digistivo.

Alternatively, if you want to buy a bottle (50cl), which retails for around £25, hit up Borough Wines, London Borough of Jam, Craved, The Fox’s Knocker, The General Store, or World of Zing.

I’d say Stellacello’s Pompelmo Liqueur can smugly wave at its lemony cousin; it’s one good looking grapefruit. P.S. Look out for the release of Stellacello's Amaro coming soon..

Stella Spritz (serves 1)

1 part Stellacello ‘Pompelmo’ Liqueur
3 parts Prosecco
Serve over ice, add a dash of soda, and garnish with a slice or grapefruit/orange.

Lead image photo credit: ©Moritz Steiger/Made in London

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