Giuseppe Gallo creates Savoia aperitivo

Italicus liqueur creator Giuseppe Gallo has unveiled Savoia, a new aperitivo that aims to 'revitalise' the Americano category, The Spirits Business can exclusively reveal.

According to Gallo, Americano aperitivos were originally produced by Italian distilleries and wineries in the 1900s for exports to the US. With Savoia, the Italian bartender and spirits expert has placed his own twist on the wine-based aperitivo, developing the product as a mid-point between red bitters and sweet vermouths. Made in Turin, Italy, the liquid was inspired by the original recipe for bitter di milano, which Gallo found in a historic book from the 1890s as he researched the category. The development process took place over the course of nearly a year, and faced challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For Gallo, the biggest hurdle was "not being able to travel to the distillery and winery in order to test the liquid". "Without the pandemic, I would have been able to make it much quicker," he explained. His take on the Americano uses a base of Marsala and Trebbiano wines. The blend is then flavoured with 20 botanicals – among them artemisia, bitter orange, gentian root, aloe and rhubarb – through traditional extraction techniques, maceration, distillation and cold extraction. Savoia is the 'first of its kind' to include Marsala, a fortified wine from the region surrounding the eponymous town in western Italy, in its recipe. It's an ingredient Gallo is enthusiastic about due to both its flavour and its marriage of Italian and English history, as he learned that Marsala was "actually made famous" by an English trader, John Woodhouse, in 1773. Savoia itself is named after the royal dynasty that led the unification of Italy. "After almost 20 years of living and working in the UK, I thought this was a great story for a brand that in some way celebrates my homeland in Italy and also connects it to the country that I consider home today," he explained. Gallo is no stranger to building an aperitivo brand. He launched the liqueur Italicus in 2016, with an eye to reviving the rosolio aperitivo category. Its success gained the attention of spirits giant Pernod Ricard, which invested in the brand in March of last year. At the time, Pernod attributed its interest in the brand to its resonance with both mixologists and consumers. That appeal is something Gallo hopes to achieve once more through Savoia. "The aim is to keep innovating within the spirits world," he said. "I drew my focus to create a new aperitivo to mix in a classic cocktail for bartenders, but moreover give to the consumer a craft cocktail ready to serve at home that delivers the same complexity and taste profile that you will enjoy in a stylish cocktail bar around the world." Savoia Americano is available to purchase for £19.99 (US$27.34) per 500ml bottle from Speciality Drinks.