Limoncello is a lovely and simple liqueur that is made from lemon rind and sugar and steeped in alcohol. Served chilled, it can be a bracing way to start the afternoon or end the evening, and it’s an essential ingredient in any number of cocktail recipes.
But it seems you can make a ‘cello out of anything. We’ve been flooded with a surfeit of sweet fruit liqueurs to check out. Here’s how the bottles — from Pallini and Loft Liqueurs — stack up.
Pallini Limoncello (2009) – Let’s start with a classic, simple lemon-based liqueur. Nicely tart and sweet, it has good balance, but a little too much alcoholic heat that makes the initial palate a little rough. Very pleasant finish. Drink it (and all of these) very cold. 52 proof. B+ / $26
Pallini Peachcello (2009) – Peach liqueur always makes me think of Southern Comfort, but Peachcello is awfully sweet and smooth and, well, full of peachy flavor. Not a whole lot to it (and it’s less pleasant straight than Pallini’s Limoncello), but I wouldn’t hesitate to use this as a shortcut to adding peach flavor to a cocktail when fresh peaches were out of season. 52 proof. B / $26
Pallini Raspicello (2009) – That’s a tricky, made-up word, but you get the idea: raspberry ‘cello. Not my favorite of the roundup. It’s too sweet and though it’s indeed raspberry-like, you’ll get better raspberry flavor out of other liqueurs, such as Chambord. 52 proof. B- / $26
Loft Lemongrass Cello – Not lemon… lemongrass (and organic at that). Very pale in color. Huge in flavor. Really intriguing and addictive, with hefty lemon and lightly bitter herbal notes that are the hallmark of this versatile grass. Alas, Loft’s products are all on the price side… 50 proof. A / $28 (375ml)
Loft Lavender Cello – Wow, really like lavender… though that now brings back unexpected memories of lavender-scented cleaning products. I like it, but more as a minor cocktail ingredient than on its own. 50 proof. B+ / $28 (375ml)
Loft Spicy Ginger Cello – Very spicy, tastes of pure ginger. But it’s about as delicious as Domaine de Canton, which is nearly identical in flavor, though just a touch smoother and less spicy. The problem is that ounce for ounce, Loft’s version is almost twice as expensive, and while it’s just as good (and possibly a touch better), it’s hard to justify paying double for it. 50 proof. A- / $28 (375ml)