Ciao to Distilleria Bottega

I’m a few months away from a trip to Italy, for an array of wine and spirits (not to mention pasta). Distilleria Bottega gave me a taste of Italia this past week in the form of grappa and liquors. While I didn’t get to enjoy the landscape of Northern Italy where the spirits are made, the drinks went down smoothly.

There was also an unusual surprise in this box of liquor – Grappa sprays. The sprays were too unique to let sit in the wrapper for long. They look like spray perfume bottles, but Alexander’s Spray Grappa is a flavoring, best used for food and coffee. I tried the plain grappa on chips, fruit and a cookie. It added a unique taste – definitely clear on the 38% alcohol content. The red pepper was especially tasty on tortilla chips. It was even suggested to use the spray on cigars and, though I’m not a smoker, I could see the appeal.

After the sprays came the bottles (which are quite beautiful, by the way) to pour. Grappa Alexander is a blend of Italian grapes. It bears some resemblance to nuts, fruits and even vanilla, but there is no mistaking the alcohol (40%) in this. I could have used a bit more flavor, however, I had a few true grappa drinkers taste it and most liked it. One said it’s the best he’s had.

Grappa - Italy BottledLimonicino Bottega is a mix of Sicilian lemons and grappa. The citrus allergy kept me from tasting. I happen to have had a few Lemoncello drinkers nearby so I got a good comparison in. The consensus was that Limonicino is sweeter, tasting like candy. It was a bit too sweet on its own, but deliciously mixed in a martini and with soda.

I’m happy to say I didn’t have any reason to avoid Bottega Gianduia. The bottle of this chocolate hazelnut liqueur emptied quickly! I would put Gianduia up against Godiva and Bailey’s. It’s thick and creamy, with the right amount of sweetness as a dessert beverage or mixed in drinks or coffee. (Or, maybe blended with some ice cream if you want a true spirited shake!)

The final bottle I tasted from Distilleria Bottega was Sambuca. I was all too familiar with the licorice-flavored liqueur having had an Italian grandfather who wouldn’t dream of having an evening espresso without it. I sampled it myself on quite a few occasions in a number of different brands. This was the smoothest Sambuca I’ve ever had. There was hardly a hint of the 40% alcohol in the distilled anise seeds.

Distilleria Bottega is a family business located just outside of Venice (a perfect place for a trip). All of the liqueurs mentioned are in the $30 and under price range. In addition to the spirits, Distilleria Bottega also produces wine, food products and even glassware. Their vineyard and distillery are environmentally friendly, using renewable energy that is generated through waste products, and natural fertilizers for true organic wine, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and more.


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