Stellacello

Irresistible Creations from London’s Accidental Liqueur Maker

Stellacello is a tiny liqueur company based in East London. Having grown up in an Australian-Italian family that made its own traditional liqueurs, Joe Stella decided to start making some of these liqueurs to enjoy at home and share with friends.

He gave the ancestral recipes from his family a modern twist and, as the story goes, made them in the bathtub. The response from friends, some of whom were hospo and knew their stuff, was so over the top that Joe started wondering whether a new career beckoned.

The first Stellacello was released in 2012— a racy, pink grapefruit-driven liqueur that was listed at high-profile venues including Lardo, Ottolenghi, Polpo and the Tate Modern. Following the drink’s early achievements Joe turned his talents to making London’s first Amaro, which was released in 2017. Made from predominantly fresh ingredients, it’s a truly outstanding example.

By design, both liqueurs steer well clear of any polarising notions associated with these two styles that inspired them. They are both super moreish and have depth, deliciousness and complexity to burn. And all this with no added colouring or artificial flavouring—just 100% natural ingredients.

The Range

Stellacello Pompelmo (500ml)
Bibendum Bar
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Stellacello Pompelmo (500ml)

The signature apero that started the ball rolling, Stellacello Pompelmo is a distinctive and far more interesting twist on the classic Italian Limoncello. The quality pink grapefruit that Stella sources gifts a racier, drier and pithier profile, so while Pompelmo can be enjoyed as a citrusy aperitivo (with tonic), or more traditionally as a digestif, it works equally well as a classy cocktail base and modifier. Already widely used by London’s best barkeeps, this amber liquid, with its sweet, zesty aromas and flavours, its subtlety and versatility, is clearly a fun ingredient to play with behind the stick.  The basic details are that Stella macerates his pink grapefruit peel in a high proof neutral base spirit for up to two months. The liqueur is then modestly sweetened with sugar syrup and cut to 29%. However, Stella admits that there’s a little more to it than that. Back home, he’s got a think tank of Australian-Italian Nonnas divulging their age-old family secrets (and that, it seems, is the way it is going to stay). Regardless, this is a must try.

Stellacello Pompelmo (500ml)
Bibendum Bar
Added
Stellacello Amaro London (500ml)
Bibendum Bar
Added

Stellacello Amaro London (500ml)

Joe Stella dates his love of amaro back to his days tending bars in Melbourne, some 20 years ago. His love of bitter flavours started somewhat earlier, as a young Italian lad sipping on chinotto as his mates enjoyed their Coca-Cola. Following the early success of his Stellacello Pompelmo (a stunningly delicious grapefruit-based liqueur), Stella took on a very personal challenge, in 2014, to create an original, London-bred amaro of a quality that could stand alongside his extensive collection of the finest Italian amari. Some 25 ingredients are used, (including Bethnal Green’s finest imported grapefruit peel and flesh, coriander seed, black peppercorn, orange zest, rosemary, Madagascan vanilla pod and whole fresh rhubarb), each added to a long, staggered maceration in neutral spirit. The sweetness—essential to balance the drink’s bitter elements—comes from the traditional addition of sugar syrup. The resulting brew carries heady scents of sarsaparilla, neroli, blackberry and currants, backed up by vibrant citrus and cinnamon. On the palate, you get notes of cola, burnt orange and red liquorice, with a soft and subtle bitterness balancing the well-rounded texture. Perhaps the best way to familiarise yourself with the brilliant quality and class on offer here is to serve this neat over ice as an after-dinner drink, although its measured sweetness and gentle bitterness also make it an ideal cocktail ingredient.

The resulting brew carries heady scents of sarsaparilla, neroli, blackberry and currants, backed up by vibrant citrus and cinnamon. On the palate, you get notes of cola, burnt orange and red liquorice, with a soft and subtle bitterness balancing the well-rounded texture. Perhaps the best way to familiarise yourself with the brilliant quality and class on offer here is to serve this neat over ice as an after-dinner drink, although its measured sweetness and gentle bitterness also make it an ideal cocktail ingredient.

Stellacello Amaro London (500ml)
Bibendum Bar
Added

“This is Spring time, sorted.” The Metropolist

Country

England

Primary Region

London

Availability

National

Test Information Two

Stella Spritz recipe

Test Information Three

Colamaro recipe

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