Italicus is produced at Torino Distillati in Moncalieri, founded in 1906 and led by the Vergnano family of craft distillers. Its is based on a recipe for Rosolio liqueur dating back to the 1800s.
Here Silician citrons and Calabrian bergamot oranges from a protected area of origin (IGP), are gently pressed in cold water. This is a process called sfumatura, which releases their essential oils, though it is rarely practiced in modern day distillation as the botanicals macerate for up to 10 days, an unusual length of time. Today most distilleries shortcut this process, but the founders of Italicus adhere to the Rosolio's traditional production methods, to ensure a best-quality product.
The mixture is then fortified with natural beet sugar, Italian neutral grain spirit and pure water.
Giuseppe Gallo, the revered Italian barman, may just be one of the driving forces behind the worldwide popularization of amari, aperitivos, vermouths, and other Italian hallmarks of cocktail culture.
And now he's given us Italicus.
In creating this distinctive spirit, he challenged himself to revive a nearly-forgotten style of liqueur, called Rosolio, an Italian aperitivo that is quite uncommon, especially in the US. Rosolio dates back to at least the 15th Century, and was known in the 19th Century as the "the drink of kings." It is a typically a liqueur derived from rose petals, though here Bergamot brings citrus to the forefront.