Seltz. It’s a traditional thirst-quencher found in kiosks in Catania and in bars in the Etna area. I’m sure it’s found elsewhere too, with different names, wherever lemons grow. I think it’s destined for a greater future. No one ever bothered to write a recipe. Three simple ingredients and superior citrus make a savory, unsweetened, sparkling drink. Think lemonade for adults. Wow! A lemon is squeezed into a glass, hold the seeds, topped with a generous splash of cold sparkling water, stirred with a wet espresso-spoon that’s been dipped into fine sea salt, causing foam to form. Drink immediately. Sicilians would consider adding an ice cube or two sacrilegious, but I wouldn’t. And I add a strip of zest from the spent lemon. Why not?
Looking for a more powerful solution in the evening, inspired by a pair of super Sicilian products, Etneus Volcanic Gin and Etna Bitter, I thought about a Sicilian gin tonic (Italians skip the “and” between gin and tonic). I did some research and found that the first proto-gin was created in Italy at a monastery outside Salerno, distilled wine flavored with juniper berries, ginepro in Italian, known to aid digestion. Bitters are also known for their digestive qualities. And you know how into digestion the Italians are. So the Sicilian gin tonic is more than refreshing. Sparkling water and bitters subbing for tonic, gin, ice, a slice of lemon—no limes in Sicily. Everyone seems impressed.
Note: I use wonderful Sicilian DOP Siracusa lemons when I can get them. I’m enthusiastic about their quality and seasonality. Share this article
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