Bookmark Limoncello could also be rightfully considered a Gin liqueur. The base spirit is grain, which Temple Distilling then turned into its Gin. Using their Navy Strength Gin as the base, Bookmark Limoncello is produced like an ordinary limoncello. Lemons are peeled, macerated and then cane sugar is added as a sweetener. The limoncello is then diluted down from to 30% ABV.
Bookmark Limoncello Liqueur has a lovely goldenrod hue. Glowingly translucent, there’s a trace of lemon sediment visible, particularly on the bottom.
Limoncello Gin may seem unusual at first glance; however, limoncello and gin historically have made ideal mixing partners. A great deal of summer cocktails are abound which combine the two. Furthermore, Lemon Gin is a common thing in its own right. Malfy Gin from Italy wears Italian Lemons on its sleeve; there’s Gilbey’s Lemon Gin Collins, Bloomsbury Lemon Gin, and the infamous Altia Oyj Lemon Spirit Drink from Finland. Lemon & Gin are natural bedfellows.
We’re reviewing Batch #7; Bottle #19
Radiant bright lemon peel notes in the air upon pouring, and especially in the glass when nosed close up. In particular on the nose, Bookmark Limoncello smells more of a limoncello than a limoncello with a gin base.
However, on the palate Bookmark Limoncello Liqueur definitely shows it’s gin side. Sweet— but not cloying— lemon flesh at first, with a heavy dollop of lemon oil. Notes of lime zest and juniper come on strongly as a complementary note. The spices add some complexity, suggesting lemon curd and key lime meringue pie— a hint of creamy custard comes on towards the finish.
The finish is sightly drier than many other limoncellos I’ve had. Hints of key lime zest, lemon custard, and a subtle hint of baking spice. Moderately long finish, with a light-to-moderate sweetness (for a limoncello).
Bookmark Limoncello Liqueur can do double-duty in cocktails like the Tom Collins. It can take the place of all three— gin, lemon and sugar. SImply top with Club Soda and roll. However, I suggest adding either a mint leaf or cucumber slice. The vegetable/herbal note moderates the sweetness a bit and brings out the lemon oil and some of the gin notes from the limoncello. I suppose, this is technically just a Limoncello and Soda.
While Bookmark Limoncello does work well enough in a Gin and Tonic, it’s far sweeter than usually expected. It may resemble a Gin and Juice at the end more than a G&T— which brings me to my second thought regarding mixing. Bookmark Limoncello Liqueur is much sweeter than Old Tom style gins, and therefore may be cloying in cocktails which add sweetener or other sweet liqueurs.
I suggest skipping the simple syrup when mixing with Bookmark Limoncello if you must mix; but I prefer it just on its own. It’s perfectly balanced as a sipper straight from the bottle.
I’d say it’s easily the best limoncello gin I’ve ever had. But moreso, compared to some of the previously mentioned “gin and lemon spirit drinks,” Bookmark is a far better lemon gin than any of them. It’s an unusual mashup and one that really works. Just as I like a good amount of gin botanical flavor in my Sloe Gin, I think Limoncello— which admittedly I find a bit too sweet to have in anything other than strict moderation— is enhanced from starting from a botanically driven base. It adds complexity, depth, and color to the lemon.
Of course, I’d say the sky is the limit for limoncello makers. Surely using gin is a natural go-to; however, almost any herbal botanical blend in a distilled base— cucumber vodka perhaps? Sage spirit from Art in the Age— distinguishes it on the shelf.
Perhaps this is the beginning of something? But in either case, as a gin fan, Temple Distilling may have helped this tepid limoncello fan see a place for it behind his bar.