Final Grade: B+
Price: $26 (750ml)
Summer may be over, but who says that means you have to stop drinking summery drinks? Certainly not me. It could be the coldest day of winter and I'll still drink a well mixed Daiquiri or Gin and Tonic.
I realize this is a contrarian position, but cold drinks during the cold season put me in mind of warm summer days, lounging by the pool or enjoying the beach. (Granted, I don't actually do those things. But still.)
The classic summertime Italian liqueur is the Limoncello, a simple but delicious combination of grain alcohol (basically vodka), sugar and lemons. Sounds delicious, right? It is, assuming it's blended right. If not, it can taste like Lemonheads soaked in turpentine.
One of the brands that does it right is Pallini. This imported Limoncello is made from lemons grown on Italy's Amalfi coast. That right there makes me think of warm breezes, beautiful sunsets, and the smell of fresh citrus in the air.
It has a lovely bouquet of lemons -- just smelling it puts you in mind of summertime, even if the weatherman says otherwise. The scent of lemons is one of my favorite aromas and the Pallini is wonderful.
Limoncello should be drunk very cold -- either neat out of the freezer or on the rocks. The first sip is delicious. There's the taste of lemon candy, the sweetness combined with just the right amount of tart, and also a creamy sensation. It has a smooth, velvety mouthfeel that is quite pleasant. Unlike some limoncellos (limoncelli?), this one doesn't have that cloying sweetness that becomes unbearable after one sip.
There's no alcohol bite to Pallini Limoncello, but you can feel the warmth spread through your chest as you drink it. (This mild character is reflected in the relatively low alcohol volume; just 26%.) The flavor is strong, authentic lemon -- the distillers have really done an excellent job of capturing the essence of the fruit in this liqueur.
I didn't try mixing it in any cocktails, although there are some recipes on the Pallini website. I'm sure there are some delicious combinations in which it could be used.
For now, though, I'm just enjoying it on its own. Given the sugar content, Pallini Limoncello isn't something you'd want to drink every day. But for those times when you're craving a little taste of summer, this is an excellent choice.
Quality Grade: A-
Value Grade: B-
Final Grade: B+