The essence of Sicily in a liqueur

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Being of Sicilian decent, I’m proud of my parents’ island’s rich heritage. Sure, there are some connotations of Sicily that are somewhat disturbing – such as it being the home of Italy’s mafia, and the island having been subjected to thousands of years of various war due to cross-colonisation (it seems all manner of cultures have pillaged and called Sicily home for a time – from the Ancient Greeks to the Arabs, the Germans and Normans to the Spaniards). But stemming from this chequered history is a very colourful multiculture. And Sicily can proudly boast impressive arts – both classical and modern; glorious food; even ardent clubbing, with east coastal city Catania often cited as Italy’s coolest nightlife centre. Check with your local travel agent, and they’ll likely tell you that Sicily is truly the “heart of Italy” even if it is situated at the foot of the nation in the midst of the glorious Mediterranean.

Which brings me to the rich soil that can be found on this land. Due to it, Sicily boasts the finest of produce, most obviously its glorious citrus fruit. So it’s no surprise that Solerno Liqueur, made from blood oranges that are exclusive to the island of Sicily, is one of the finest liqueurs on the international beverage market.

Produced by Master Distiller, Lesley Gracie, who also happens to be the creator of the wonderful Hendrick’s Gin, Solerno is versatile in that it can be enjoyed as a base spirit, a modifying sweetener, or all on its own as an aperitif.

Each blood orange used to create the essence of Solerno has been hand-plucked from trees along the sun-drenched slopes of famed Mt Etna. The result, as you can imagine, is decadently sweet.

Recently, Cream had the pleasure of supping Solerno over lunch at Perth’s Terrace restaurant. Kicking off proceedings with a Solerno & Sparkling cocktail, the liqueur lends itself wonderful to the simplest of cocktails: just one ounce of the blood orange liqueur to four ounces of Prosecco over ice in a tall glass garnished with finely sliced blood orange wheels. Easy, tasty and certainly thirst-quenching on a hot March day.

For something a little more adventurous, mix one ounce of Solerno with an ounce of Hendrick’s Gin, half an ounce of orange juice and three-quarters of lemon juice, an egg white, some soda water and two drops of orange flower water. Voila! It’s the tastiest of citrus beverages dubbed a Blood Orange Fizz.

So ask for Solerno next time your at your local lizard lounge. If the people behind the bar don’t have it, tell them you’ll move on: to Sicily if you have to… 

For more recipe ideas visit www.facebook/solernoaustralia.