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Drink | SPIRIT OF THE WEEK

Profumi della Costiera Limoncello, Southern Italy

October 11, 2000|S. IRENE VIRBILA

Ah, Italia! On the Amalfi Coast, the after-dinner drink of choice is limoncello, an aromatic lemon liqueur served very cold in tiny chilled glasses. Having a late-night limoncello in the piazza--any piazza--quickly becomes a ritual.

But not all limoncellos are created equal. Many use cheap commercial lemons, not the sweet, fragrant lemons grown near the sea. This one, from a tiny artisanal producer in Ravello, is made exclusively from the peels of Amalfi Coast lemons, steeped with alcohol, water and sugar.

The thick, syrupy result tastes like the essence of lemon. Drink it in small sips: The prickly bitterness at the finish leaves an impression of citrus rind. Somehow it's incredibly refreshing. To ensure it's cold enough, store the bottle in the freezer and serve in iced cordial glasses.

About $20. Available at Wine Expo in Santa Monica, (310) 828-4428 and at Wally's in West Los Angeles, (310) 475-0606. If you can't find it, have your local retailer call the distributor, Vinity Wine Co., (510) 601-6010.

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