The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2015

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july 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  107 july 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  107 VOV Arrives ITALY'S HIDDEN GEM MAKES ITS U.S. DEBUT A 170-year-old Italian liqueur is bound to have some interesting history, and VOV's backstory is no exception. It was born in Padua in 1845, created by a monk who used the leftover egg yolks from a local nougat maker to make a concoction to give to wives to cure their "dissatisfaction" with their husbands. While it was called VOV, after the Venetian word for eggs, vovi, it became known as "The Honeymoon Drink" and, over a century later, has become an embedded part of Italian culture. As Norman Bonchick, CEO of 375 Park Avenue Spirits, which distributes VOV in the U.S., remarks, "Go to any traditional Italian restaurant that has people who emigrated from Italy, and ask them about VOV. I guarantee that just a mention of the liqueur will bring a smile to their face." VOV is finding a resurgence in popularity in the younger generations, who are now enjoying it in warm drinks in the winter, and even in interesting and surpris- ing summertime combinations. Bonchick admits he was skeptical when offered a drink of Coca-Cola mixed with VOV, but after one sip he was won over, and championed to have the product introduced in the States. "It's been popular in Italy since forever," Bonchick explains. "And I wanted to bring Italy's best kept secret to the U.S. and introduce it to a whole new market." The ingredients are simple: Sicilian Marsala wine, sugar, the smallest bit of pure grain alcohol and Madagascar vanilla, and the production is as time-honored as the liqueur itself, made in limited runs in the center of Italy from the original recipe. VOV can be used as a replacement for egg in many cocktails, giving them a creamier and more nuanced flavor. Bartenders also appreciate the idea of using an old-school liqueur in new and innovative ways. "Mixologists love the origin story, and many use it as an inspiration to create cocktails with VOV," Bonchick laughs. "It creates curiosity around the liqueur, which leads to an interest in tasting it." Tasting Notes Vanilla custard permeates the nose; a delightful beginning. The texture brings in flavors of nectarine, vanilla wafers and a hint of nutmeg. —Ed.

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