By Sacha Delfosse

Suntory recently held a tasting masterclass for Italian liqueur Disaronno at Table for Twenty in Surry Hills Sydney, hosted by Max Greco from Eau de Vie.

A range of Disaronno-based cocktails, designed by Greco especially for the event, were served to guests to showcase the different way the liqueur can be used, with each cocktail matched to an appropriate dish to compliment the flavours.

Greco also gave guests a step-by-step demonstration on how each cockatil was prepared while explaining the reasons for using each chosen ingredient, while also sharing some Disaronno history and knowledge.

Apart from providing guests with a detailed background into the distilling process of Disaronno and its position in the Italian market, Greco also shared personal anecdotes in regards to Disaronno, which according to him is the one liqueur always found in Italian households.

The liqueur is made in the Italian town of Saronno, a place Greco visited when he was 13-years old and where one of his uncles worked for several years. Although the centuries old recipe is a secret, Greco said one of the key ingredients which gives the liqueur its unique taste was apricot kernel oil.

“I wasn’t drinking at the age I visited Saronno, but I remember the town was very proud of what they produced and as I walked around I remember it was everywhere, even in the barber shop they had a bottle of Disaronno opened with a few glasses,” Greco reminisced.

Apart from the apricot kernel oil, 17 locally sourced herbs and spices are used in the production of Disaronno, which is made using special methods of extraction, soaking and vacuum sealed distillation, with the ingredients steeped through maceration.

Although the product has been a staple addition to Italian households and bars for decades, it only began to be known outside of Italy during the 1970s.

Nowadays, the two biggest markets for Disaronno, outside of Italy, are the US and the UK; however Greco believes there is room for more bartender education on not just Disaronno but liqueurs in general.

“I’ve been doing this job for more than 12 years, I’ve been to many tastings and training session and it’s always about vodka, gin, bourbon, tequila which are fantastic, I love all of them, but without liqueurs, all the classic cocktails would not be able to be made," said Greco.

“How much do bartenders know about this? Not as much as they should. In Italy you go every place they know about amaretto a lot. Because it’s a little bit more obscure I think some people just look at the bigger spirits but they don’t see how valuable liqueurs are. With all liqueurs, not just Disaronno, I think there could be more education."

To watch a clip of Max Greco taken at the masterclass, click on the video below.

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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