One of my favorite memories of when I lived in Italy was of the homemade aperitivi and digestivi that every self-respecting Italian seems to have in his or her home (and many restaurants had in their cellars). One of my favorites, and one that is most evocative of Spring, is a delicious “liquore alla fragola,” or strawberry liqueur. When I used to spend Easters in Sardinia, it was made from wild strawberries gathered and macerated in alcohol, then eventually blended with sugar.
Liquore alla fragola
- 18 oz. vodka
- 12 oz. strawberries
- 8 oz. sugar mixed with 4 oz. water to make simple syrup
- one long peel of lemon zest
1. Clean the strawberries well, removing the stems. Dry them, chop them coarsely, and put them in a glass jar with the vodka. Seal the jar and leave to macerate for a month, shaking the mixture a few times a week.
2. Strain the liqueur, keeping the strawberries in a jar in the refrigerator to add to desserts or cocktails.
3. Make the simple syrup by cooking the sugar and water over low heat until the sugar is dissolved (do not allow the mixture to caramelize). Remove from heat and add the zest. Let cool completely. Remove the zest, and mix with the strawberry-infused vodka.
4. Put in an air-tight bottle or jar and let age in a cool, dark place for a month.
5. The liqueur can be served cold or room temperature as an aperitif or digestif, or can be mixed in cocktails, with wine to make a “spritz,” or added to sparkling water.
By Peg Kern
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