To say that the humble calamansi is a versatile fruit would be a bit of an understatement. It’s found in everything from your tita’s pancit canton to your sister’s “kili-kili” whitening soap. So the idea of transforming calamansi into cocktail drink isn’t much of a stretch, which should come as a relief for the makers of Kalamancello.
The name Kalamancello is an apparent play on the Italian word Limoncello. Limoncello is liquor made from the zest of lemons and traditionally serves as “panulak” after a starched-filled spaghetti dinner. It has a distinct citrus flavor and is probably the basis for the look and taste of Kalamancello.
Kalamancello comes in a 750 ml glass bottle with a black label. On the label you’ll find the name of the product, an image of calamansi (no surprise there) and some fine print. It’s hard to go wrong with such simple packaging but a short description or history on Kalamancello would’ve been a nice touch.
The drink is bright yellow in color, has a syrupy consistency and a pleasant aroma. It’s sweet but without the bitterness you usually find in pure calamansi juice, making it the perfect mixer for all those resort cocktails kids down during Laboracay.
Kalamancello is also a good choice for the casual drinker with its’ light 11% alcohol content. It’s price tag, however, is not so weightless. One bottle will set you back around P 600 pesos, which is pricy for the working-class Filipino but affordable enough for the Legaspi Market crowd this product was most likely developed for.
With its’ novel concept, clean look, and refined taste Kalamancello should be a welcome addition to any local bar or at the very least, Filipinos have finally found a drink classy enough for the beloved calamansi fruit.