Written by Tom Schneider
During these trying times, we have all been looking for a little ray of happiness. Some people find that ray while combing through books, others while watching movies—as a liquor buyer, I’ve done my looking in the deep-ends of booze distribution catalogues. And, folks, I’ve found my little ray of happiness: Luxardo Bitter Bianco.
I stumbled upon it one lonely Monday evening and ordered a case. Why not, right? I’m a huge fan of white negronis and spritzes, not to mention souping up a gin and tonic with a splash of aperitivo; maybe this mystery bottle would be an upgrade, maybe it would bring a little light and warmth into my cold, cold life.
I received the case the next day, cracked the bottle later that evening, and… I was blown away. I fell in love with LBB’s combination of gentian, citrus rind, and wormwood—with just enough sweetness to balance everything out. I was expecting light and sweet, but this had a busty bitterness that was almost a rival for Campari. Brighter, less thick, and more elegant… We began a summer romance, to say the least.
A white negroni with Bitter Bianco subbing for Campari and Cocchi Americano subbing for sweet vermouth may be the perfect early-evening summer cocktail. Spritzed with cava and sparkling water, LBB made Sunday afternoons a charm. Where had this tantalizing elixir been all my life?
I then did a deep dive on my new fling. And guess what, folks? It’s got a bit of a history. It turns out the producer Luxardo (known for their cherries and maraschino liquor) was started in the town of Zara, where Girolamo Luxardo had moved with his family to be the Consular Representative of the Kingdom of Sardinia. He bought his lovely wife a distillery (a killer Valentine’s day gift for all you lovebirds out there) so she could bring her home liqueur-making project to the next level, which resulted in the creation of the company’s flagship Maraschino Liqueur. Zara is now Zadar, the oldest continuous inhabited city in Croatia. The Distillery was bombed out in World War II, and along with it went all of the Luxardo Bitter Bianco. The family has done its research, though, and finally re-released this gem of a bottle a few years ago.
While doing my research, I also found out that one of the primary uses of LBB was in an Italian Paloma (the traditional Paloma being a mix of tequila and grapefruit). So, being a devoted lover, I grabbed a San Pellegrino Pompelmo and put a splash of my new amore in there, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. The LBB brought out all the citrus rind that the soda was lacking, bringing it all together. I nabbed the only four cases in the state to share my love with all of you, because sharing is caring. Keep your heads up and sip bittersweet cocktails with your loved ones, everybody.
Order Online here: Luxardo Bitter Bianco $24.99