Liqueurs are undoubtedly a category on the up, with combined on- and off-trade sales topping £1.2 billion last year and new premium products like the perfume-inspired Muyu making their way to the bar.
The latest liqueur to tap into the premiumisation of the category is Fortunella, which harnesses the bright citrus flavour of kumquats.
Fortunella was created by Lukas Stafin, a bartender with 15 years’ experience at institutions such as Purl.
He partnered with Dariusz Plazewski, founding director and distiller of Bimber Distillery, to craft the liqueur. The pair originally collaborated on a kumquat gin exclusive to Purl, and the process inspired Stafin to create a liquid of his own.
He said he noticed an unfulfilled demand for craft liqueurs in his time behind the bar: ‘Cocktail bartenders are always using liqueurs, but there aren’t that many premium ones out there.’
To produce Fortunella, kumquats are sourced from China, India, South Africa and South America, then hand-prepped for the liqueur’s four stages of production. Stafin explained that the maceration process used to infuse the kumquat flavour in the alcohol produces unique qualities in the liqueur.
‘The maceration imparts so much flavour, and it changes and evolves as the liquid sits,’ he said. ‘It’s alive like wine, so it has to breathe.’
Team Imbibe are patiently awaiting Fortunella’s launch in May to try the liquid for ourselves, but according to Stafin, it has ‘lots of flavour of the golden kumquats, and a nice silky finish’.
36% abv, c£30/50cl, Speciality Drinks (available from May)