On the Shelf: Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur

The world’s first blood orange liqueur, Solerno, has been around for years though the essential cocktail ingredient has recently seen a resurgence in populaity thanks to a new range of cocktails and a new signature serve called The Solerno Serata. The liqueur, which is the brainchild of Hendrick’s Master Distiller Lesley Gracie, launched in Australia around three years ago and ever since has been a constant presence on just about every cocktail list across the countr.

While Solerno does mix very well the most simple of cocktails (seriously try this with some dry sparkling wine over ice), previous years have seen bartenders use this in more sophisticated cocktails. And why wouldn’t they? This isn’t a gimmicky, overly syrurpy liqueur but rather one that’s very nicely balanced (I’d expect no less from Lesley) with a big, intense body that’s packed full of flavour and a surprising amount of heat.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Solerno is it’s colour. The bottle makes it look like a fiery red, which sticks out on the shelf, but the liquid is a bit different then that. Upon pouring the liquid into a class you’ll notice it’s not as bright as would be expected but kind of clear just with a slightly yellow tinge. On the nose, you get a lot of blood orange of course, as well as some lemon and cream, a vague showcase for the palate which is much bigger, bringing a middle that’s smooth and velvety but thick and spicy. Towards the back of the palate the liquid becomes very tart before breaking into a dry, rather long finish with a substantial burn; you really feel this one in your chest, and the initital sweetness wouldn’t have telegraphed it at all.

This is more complex then closer comparisons like Cointreau and even Triple Sec, or even some Grand Marnier. And yes, Solerno is MVP when it comes to mixing up some margaritas. The recipe for the liqueur extracts the fragrant essential oils of Sicily’s sanguinello blood oranges, picked from the sunny groves on the slopes of Mt Etna. The fruit is processed within 24 hours at Agrumeria Corleone to maintain its freshness before the oil is blended with ingredients like Sicilian lemon and a neutral spirit base that’s been sweetened with natural sugar, obviously focused towards freshness and capturing the essence of a big, strong hit of blood orange.

Signature Serve: Solerno Serata

Ingredients

45ml Solerno
30ml ruby grapefruit juice
60ml sparkling water
2 dashes of orange bitters

Method

1. Build ingredients in a stemless glass and stir well.
2. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

For more information on Solerno and recipes click HERE. You can grab a 700ml bottle for $69.99 from Dan Murphy’s.

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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.

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