Limoncello has become ubiquitous in the last decade (Danny DeVito notoriously showed up on The View tanked on limoncello…only to promote his own brand weeks later!), but just north of Los Angeles in Ventura, true Italian-inspired limoncello rivals the best from Europe. Ventura Limoncello, produced by James Carling makes traditional limoncello, a blood orange version, and what I think is his best, the Crema, a limoncello with milk. Ventura Limoncello is all made by hand (I’ve visited his small production facility in an industrial section of Ventura) with no fake colors or flavors – this is the real deal. Only the top skin of the lemon is peeled which is more concentrated with the citrus oil, then soaked. It’s mixed with sugar and neutral spirits rather than vodka, as James believes vodka imparts a harsher taste.
It's ripe with lemon and lemon rind and stunningly balanced with the alcohol rendering it a smooth, viscous, decadent wonderfully piquant dessert liqueur. The ingredients are simple, but to make a seamless liqueur that balances each aspect is not a simple thing to do. But Ventura Limoncello Crema has succeeded. Put this over ice cream, drizzle it on angel food cake, use as a mixer or better still, chill and slowly sip this for a satisfying lemon experience. It’s available at major stores like BevMo, Gelson’s, Bristol Farms and Whole Foods. VENTURA LIMONCELLO
ORIGIN: Ventura, California
PRICE: $19.99 /375/ml
BOOZEHOUNDZ SCORE: 92 POINTS