When Life Gives You Lemons…Make Limoncello with Tommy’s Booze

It all began with a 30-kilo bag of lemons and an imported bottle of pure alcohol and the rest is a nostalgic side hustle that’s bringing the limoncello and other retro liqueurs back to the forefront of Australian drink culture – and salute to that!

The duo behind Freddy’s Pizza in Windsor – Dan Leuzzi and Tom Giurioli might be best known for their old school pizza and pasta habits at the vibrant Chapel Street restaurant, but it’s also where they started to road test their homemade limoncello with fellow diners and friends – all keen to pull up a stool and sample the product. It became a post-lockdown hit.

They’ve since launched Tommy’s Booze – and grown the range to include Mandarino and Lampone. It’s a nod to their Italian heritage, a family tradition and a chance to elevate the Aussie drink experience with a classic tipple. Afterall, if you’re bound for the Amalfi Coast, it’s imperative you know the humble limoncello originated in Positano.

“Many customers didn’t know what limoncello was when we suggested they try it,” says Tom Giurioli who moved to Australia from Rome in 2010 and hasn’t looked back.

“I found one of my Nonno’s old recipes,” adds Dan Leuzzi.

“Tom has his grandmother’s recipes, and the rest is an experiment we turned into a product and then decided it was time to start a new business,” he says.

“A customer actually came into the restaurant one day and offered us lemons his Greek grandmother had grown at home. That’s when we decided to give the limoncello a go. The more Tom experimented with the recipe, the more delicious the limoncello turned out. Our focus was to make it locally with local ingredients,” Leuzzi says.

With most limoncello liqueurs on the market are imported, and many reliant on essential oils over squeezing a lemon themselves, the lads wanted to return to the old school and authentic recipes of past generations.

Now the duo is about to release a ready-to-drink can version of the Italian liqueur – turning them into handy spritzes for summer.

The three signature liqueurs are served in some of Melbourne’s finest restaurants – from Cecconi’s to Neptune Food & Wine and also stocked in Blackhearts & Sparrows.

They source fruit from Victoria and Queensland, and what doesn’t make it on the fresh fruit shelf, finds a new life in a liquor bottle.

The surge in spritz consumption means consumers can now opt for an alternative to an Aperol go-to which has dominated the market for the last decade.

“What I love about limoncello is you can make it as a spritz or enough it as a zesty shot,” says Leuzzi.

“It’s great with a simple soda or mixed with other liqueurs, you can take it any direction you wish,” he says.

“We’re also finding drinkers in their early 20s are ordering spritzes and want quality alcohol when they dine. There’s a desire for it and palettes are changing. People want their drink experience to be worth it, to be elevated and not just consuming it for the sake of it,” Leuzzi says.

Giurioli recalls first trying his grandmother’s limoncello in his late teens, but it didn’t leave much of an impression. “Digestives after dinner is what Italian do, it’s our custom but the drinks are very strong,” he says. He’s found the perfect balance between lemon and booze for his latest venture. “Limoncello really reminds me of time spent at the family table. I love the flavour of lemons and have learned to appreciate it in a new way now.”


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