Salvatore Calabrese develops aromatic liqueur with De Kuyper

Kate Malczewski

Kate Malczewski

05 February 2020

De Kuyper Royal Distillers has partnered with Salvatore Calabrese to launch Acqua Bianca, an aromatic liqueur designed with versatility in mind.

‘Two years ago, the CEO of DeKuyper [Mark de Witte] asked me to make a liqueur. Liqueur has always been a great part of my creations, so I said yes,’ explained Calabrese, speaking at the liqueur’s launch event held at The Donovan Bar at London hotel Brown’s, where he holds the title of ‘The Maestro’.

I knew I wanted to make the most aromatic liqueur in the world

Salvatore Calabrese

Calabrese explained that the inspiration for the product came from a historical recipe for Planter’s Punch from the late 1800s. One ingredient in the drink particularly intrigued him: ambergris, a substance produced in the digestive system of sperm whales, which is prized by perfumers for its fixative qualities.

‘I knew I wanted to use it to make the most aromatic liqueur in the world,’ Calabrese said.

To craft the liquid, he chose to combine ambergris, peppermint, rose and three types of citrus – lemon, bergamot and citron.

On the nose, the liqueur delivers a hefty note of fresh mint leaves, layered with lemon zest and flowers. The palate features more of that minty, eucalyptus freshness, with floral qualities of both bergamot and rose. But the most impressive part is its texture – it lacks the cloying stickiness of many liqueurs, and manages to deliver a silky weight while maintaining lightness.

According to Calabrese, its citrusy flavour profile and amenable texture allows it to work with both light and dark spirits. At the launch, serves ranged from Sal’s Stinger, a simple drink of Acqua Bianca and cognac, to the Spritzer Fresco, which combines the liqueur with Italicus, grapefruit juice and prosecco.

The launch is the latest in a series of collaborations that has seen the Dutch company work with notable bartenders to develop premium liqueurs.

Previous releases include the Muyu range, created with Monica Berg, Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale; and Dutch Cacao, made in collaboration with Joerg Meyer.

Acqua Bianca is 24% abv and is distributed by Cellar Trends

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