The idea of a liqueur as something that could be sipped in place of a dessert has gotten a new lease on life recently with the introduction of Just Desserts Cream Liqueurs. This inventive line, conceived and marketed by wine and spirits firm William Grant & Sons, re-creates classic desserts in liqueur form. A little dram of the rich, velvety Créme Brûlée version goes a long way and will take care of just about any dessert craving. There's also a Just Desserts Chocolate Chip Cookie Cream Liqueur.
VILLA MASSA LIMONCELLO ($24)
Farmers on the Amalfi Coast of Italy have been making lemon liqueur - known locally as limoncello - for centuries. This spectacular coastline is famous for its citrus trees, especially lemons, and limoncello began as an artisanal product. The Amalfi Coast became the playland of the rich and famous in the 1950s and '60s. With tourism, demand for limoncello grew, leading to many inferior versions. Today, limoncello is more popular than ever, but the best versions are still handmade from fresh lemon peels, alcohol, and sugar.
The Massa family of Sorrento make their limoncello from a family recipe dating from the turn of the last century, using a special variety of oil-rich lemon that grows in the volcanic soil found only around Sorrento. It's a lovely pale green-gold color, with bright, snappy, penetrating flavors. Limoncello is the classic drink to offer, on ice or straight from the freezer, after a rich Italian meal. The zesty lemon will cut right through your carb overload.
Given the northerly latitude of Canada, you might have expected the Canadians to come up with some interesting ways of keeping warm in all that snow and ice. They have. Sortilège is one of a series of six cozy new liqueurs from the land of the maple leaf. Appropriately enough, it's made from Canadian whiskey and maple syrup. (The others in the lineup are more traditionally styled and range from cloudberry to black currant.)