A long time ago, I lamented the fact that there weren’t many cocktails that called for limoncello as an ingredient. After a few rounds of experimentation I moved on to other things, but still, from time to time, I’d glance at the bottle of limoncello in my freezer and wish I could do something with it beyond simply enjoying the occasional chilled shot.
Call this wish fulfillment. I first tried this drink last week, at a newish Seattle lounge called Licorous (and which actually isn’t all that new, but since it took me several months to actually drag myself over there, it was new to me). Licorous’ cocktails have generated a lot of local attention, partially because of its pairings menu: an $8.50 drink is transformed into a $10.50 experience when a small, pre-selected appetizer is served alongside. Considering that the lounge is adjacent to and closely related to Lark, Jonathan Sundstrom’s acclaimed small-plate restaurant, the paired tidbits are blow-me-away ventures of the fois-gras-bon-bon and Armandino-Batali’s-oregano-salumi persuasion, and the bar similarly sets its mark high.
The Renaissance is a Robert Hess original, and is one of the best uses of limoncello in a cocktail since … well, maybe ever, at least in my experience. The brandy and the vermouth give it a nice, lush base, and the touch of limoncello spiked with bitters lend a mildly sweet, fruity perfume.
While Licorous prepares the cocktail using one of its house-made bitters, Robert says the drink was crafted with Fee’s Peach Bitters in mind. Having tried it both ways, I’ve found I prefer the brightness of the peach / lemon interplay, but if you haven’t got peach bitters on hand, I’d suggest taking a crack at this with a couple of dashes of orange bitters. It’ll be a slightly different drink, but still mighty tasty.
- 2 oz. brandy
- 1 1/3 oz. sweet vermouth
- 1/3 oz. limoncello
- 2 dashes Fee’s Peach Bitters (or try orange bitters, if you don’t have peach)
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.