Food & Drink
Zest: The Liverpool bartenders who want to make limoncello the new gin
4 months ago
Two bartenders from Liverpool have embarked on an ambitious mission to raise limoncello to the status of gin.
Andy Oyeneyin and Seamus Sullivan founded Zest Limoncello in 2020, becoming Merseyside’s only limoncello producer and supplier, and have taken the city by storm — with their range now in over 40 bars and restaurants.
After experimenting with limoncello during lockdowns, the two cocktail barmen created the unique brand — offering a number of flavours such as original, lime, blood orange and blackberry. Most popular as a refreshing spritz (with Prosecco and soda), they have caused quite the ‘stir’ and have been endorsed by celebrity chef Paul Askew and Dragon’s Den star John Tague.
Zest Limoncello supplies to some of Liverpool’s most reputable hospitality venues, such as Barnacle, The Art School, Luca and Justino’s, and many businesses say it has been a unique selling point. From just £13 per bottle and enjoyed either straight, on the rocks, in a spritz or in a cocktail, demand has increased due to its overwhelming popularity.
Andy and Seamus use the finest fresh fruit in their limoncello and have become a zero waste business — using the fruit syrup and skins to make seasoning, sauces, candles and wax melts. They also have a policy of giving customers £1 back for returned bottles — of which there are many due to it flying out!
“Limoncello has always been seen as an after dinner drink, something you’d typically have in an Italian restaurant as a quirky palate cleanser following your meal. Attitudes are changing though, as people are starting to realise how refreshing it is when made right — especially as a spritz and with different flavours in addition to the standard lemon.”
Zest Limoncello started out as a side hustle for the two barmen, but they are now having to work very hard to keep up with demand — with talk of investment, taking on employees and becoming wholesale supplier. The two friends are aiming to revolutionise limoncello and make it as popular and mainstream as gin has become.
“As with everyone, lockdowns gave us the chance to play around with ideas and experiment. Andy and I started talking about limoncello and before we knew it we were making spritzes and cocktails with it — before moving on to actually making it from scratch, with different flavours.”
“We started off selling it to the bar where we worked at and to friends but we never imagined it would grow so big so quickly. Word of mouth spread like wildfire and the feedback from businesses was unreal and as we’ve evolved we’ve got more creative — making seasoning, sauces, candles and wax melts from the fruit. People love it!”
Limoncello isan Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced inSouthern Italy, especially in the region around the Sorrentine Peninsula and the coast of Amalfi. It is the second-most popular liqueur in Italy, however it is not as popular in the UK — with drinks such as gin and Prosecco taking centre stage. Andy and Seamus are looking to change that and revolutionise the drinks industry in the process.
“We honestly believe that limoncello can be the new gin. Once people discover how refreshing it is, especially as a spritz with Prosecco and soda or in a cocktail, they often say it’s their favourite drink. Zest Limoncello offers that extra bit of flavour and as we’re one of the UK’s only producers and suppliers, we are in control of the process and ingredients.”
Zest Limoncello is vegan, gluten free and is made with the freshest and highest quality ingredients. Consisting of fresh lemons (or other fruits), premium grain vodka, raw organic cane sugar and fresh mineral water, Zest Limoncello offers that fresh Amalfi feel with every sip.
“It’s crazy how popular Zest has become, considering it was just an experimental thing for us when we started out. We’ve become really creative with it and have become experts — when we supply to people and businesses we like to pass on our knowledge so that people can get the best out of our products. We’re so passionate about it!”
Zest Limoncello is based in South Liverpool and offers a range of different flavours such as original, lime, blood orange and blackberry. Founded by Andy Oyeneyin and Seamus Sullivan, their bottles start at just £13 — supplying to both businesses and individuals, with potential expansion and wholesale supply coming soon.