I had my first Limoncello Tonic, at the now defunct Bar Franzotti 2014 in Berlin. Before that, I only associated too much sweetness and too intense lemon flavours with limoncello. However, the Limoncello Tonic proofed me wrong. The tonic water diluted the sweetness just enough and the citrus notes obviously work well with tonic water. Now limoncellos and arancellos are in high fashion again. Therefore, I am trying four different ones for you today.
Well, in an article about Limoncello etc. you might expect that some bottles come from Italy. However, in this particular instance all four citrus liqueurs are from Germany. The first one, an Arancello comes from the Zott Distillery. The blood oranges of the “Moro” variety for this liqueur come from Lentini in Sicily. After fully ripening in the sun, the oranges are then directly transported to the distillery in Ustersbach and Augsburg. The blood oranges are gently pressed and the juice is also used for the Arancello.
The Zott Arancello has a distinct orange note with a slight bitterness. There are more orange eau de vie notes than fresh orange notes. However, it is still very complex with a balanced sweetness and slight vanilla notes. For a drink, I decided to make a Negroni variation. To underline the blood orange flavours of the Arancello I used the blood orange flavour forward Satoshi Gin. I did not change the rest of the recipe with Campari and Martini Rubino Vermouth. The connection of the “Araneroni” to the Negroni is clearly visible. There are intense blood orange notes and the bitterness of the Campari is a little subdued.
2,25 cl Zott Arancello
3 cl Campari
3 cl Martini Rubino Vermouth
¾ oz Zott Arancello
1 oz Campari
1 oz Martini Rubino Vermouth
Garnish: Orange Halves;
Song: Crucchi Gang – La dolce Vita;
The next citrus liqueur comes from a distillery from Kempen at the Lower Rhine. The Mühle 4 Limoncello is made from organic lemons from Sicily. The lemon are hand selected and carefully peeled. Only the lemon peel is used for the production of the liqueur.
The Mühle 4 Limoncello has a very fresh citrus note with fresh lemon juice flavours. Of course, this also means that there is some noticeable acidity in the taste. For a drink I pared the Limoncello with a Franconian Silvaner wine. Basically, the drink is a Limoncello Sour with the addition of a little white wine. The lemon liqueur still comes through beautifully and the Silvaner works very well with it.
3 cl Rothe Silvaner Grande
3 cl Lemon Juice
1,5 cl Simple Syrup
1 oz Rothe Silvaner Grande
1 oz Lemon Juice
½ oz Simple Syrup
Garnish: Lemon Wheel;
Song: Absynthe Minded – Heaven Knows;
Subtle, but complex
The Zott Limoncello is also product from lemons from Lentini. The lemons are processed untreated in the distillery when they are ripe. The lemons are pealed and the macerated in alcohol, but the lemon juice also finds its way into the liqueur. Some sugar is added for the sweetness of the liqueur, but as with all the products from Zott otherwise the Limoncello does not use any colouring or additives.
Contrary to the Mühle 4 the Zott Limoncello is a little bit more subtle with less fresh citrus notes. Do not get me wrong there are also a lot of citrus flavours, but they do come in the form of lemon eau de vie notes. Apart from that, there are also spicy notes which remind me of gin. It might be a little bit more complex, but the differences are really minor. For a drink I chose a classic Limoncello Tonic, which always is a great choice for Summer time parties!
Fermented blood oranges
The last citrus liqueur I want to present to you is the orange counterpart from the Mühle 4. The Orangello uses Sicilian blood oranges of the “Tarocco” variety. During production a little bit of blood orange eau de vie is added to the liqueur to round off the slightly bitter and sweet flavour.
It is interesting to see the differences in the two orange liqueurs. While the Zott is more refined, but also a little laid back, the Mühle 4 has more powerful orange notes. They remind me of overripe fruits and fermented blood oranges. On top of that, it reminded me more of a traditional curacao liqueur. For a drink we had the idea to pair it with a hoppy Pale Ale to bring out the citrus flavours and get a kind of orange Shandy taste. To round everything off I also added a few dashes of Black Lemon Bitters.
Top off with Brlo Pale Ale
Build in chilled Pilsner glass over ice – top off with beer – stir gently;
Garnish: Orange Twist;
Song: Miike Snow – Heart is Full;
Take your pick
In conclusion it turns out that you can make great citrus liqueurs in Germany. Although, the citrus fruits obviously also come from Southern Italy. Depending on what you prefer – more freshness and more intensity – or more subtle flavours you always make a great choice in picking one of the four liqueurs mentioned above.
*The fact that I received a product reviewed in this article for free, did not – in any way – influence the rating of said product. The Limoncello and Orangello were provided by the Mühle 4 Distillery.