More Fun Stuff From Italy

It's always fun to be surprised by an appointment and discover exciting new stuff when you really have little expectation going in. More than any other country, Italy has all these old timey booze labels that don't necessarily reflect what's in the bottle. We're so used to serious, modern, or romantically rustic artwork these days that it's surprising to find something of a high quality in more jovial packaging. Italy seems to be full of that type of stuff, however, and I find it endearing. I discovered the products of Distilleria Caffo after tasting with an Italian food importer who is distributing the brand in California. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Italy is full of secrets like this and I think there are plenty more still to be discovered by cocktail crazy Americans in search of new adventures. Distilleria Caffo is located in Calabria, south of Naples on the toe of the boot. It's a fourth generation family company and the products are honest, natural, and affordable. I bought everything they presented to me because, for the price, how could I not??! Here's what just came in:

Distilleria Caffo Amaretto $21.99- One of the few truly great amarettos on the market, this outstanding liqueur from Caffo distillery is made from 100% Sicilian almonds and subtle herbal infusions. There are no chemical additives, just natural flavors and colors from pure Italian produce! If you're a baker, this is definitely the way to go.

Distilleria Caffo Amaro del Capo $27.99- This bitter liqueur from Calabrian herbs is one of the most popular amari in all of Italy, and now it's finally available again at K&L. 29 different herbs are infused into the spirit including orange peel, licorice, camomile, tangerine peel, and juniper to create a bitter, citric, and spicy elixir with supreme versatility.

Distilleria Caffo Dominique Brandy $25.99- Brandy Dominique was the first spirit produced by Distilleria Caffo back in 1915, a company now in its fourth generation of family distillation. Pot distilled and aged for more than three years in oak, this is the value brandy we've been waiting for from Italy. Sidecars, Manhattans, and more await you!

Distilleria Caffo Mezzodi Aperitivo 1L $18.99- From Caffo distillery in Calabria, on the toe of Italy just south of Naples, comes this delicious, inexpensive, Campari-like substitute, brimming with juicy Italian citrus and a nice level of bitterness. Less sweet than Aperol and lighter than Campari, you can use it in a spritz, Americano, or a Negroni quite effectively. Tonic water also adds an extra dose of bitter without overwhelming the cocktail. A welcome addition to any bar and a must for Italian amari hunters (and it comes in a liter!!!)

Distilleria Caffo Solara Orange Liqueur $26.99- The abundance of superb citrus in Calabria was the inspiration for this orange liqueur from Caffo. Made from both sweet and bitter oranges, the harmony of flavor is perfectly balanced on the palate. Pick this up instead of Grand Marnier or Cointreau for your next cocktail party.

Distilleria Caffo Liquorice Liqueur $32.99- Licorice liqueur? That's what we said when presented with this fantasic new spirit from Caffo distillery in Calabria. Balanced by infusions of anise, mint, and various other bitter herbs, this is a unique and fasincating expression of "liquorice" in liquid form.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll