1. What's in a name
There is no oil in rosolio. The name, as it goes, derives from Latin. Ros Solis, sun dew. You may remember the word ros from the herb rosemary. Which derives from ros marinus, dew of the sea.
It used to be the drink par excellence to offer to visitors and guests in Italy. A home brew welcome liquor, enjoyed by men and women equally.
The drink is very straightforward. Plants, herbs or fruit is left to soak in alcohol. After which water and especially sugar (50%) is added.
2. A short history of rosolio
Catherine de Medicì was a fan. Truth be told, she turned out to be a fan of food in general. An Italian in France, who brought her kitchen along. Italians state that is were Catherine’s chefs who taught the French how to cook. A discussion we will not tackle here. Let ‘s just picture her sipping a glass of rosolio. Smacking her lips and high-fiving the inventor.
Nunneries continued the great tradition and later it became a typical home brew.
3. Regional icons
Numerous Piedmont convents kept the tradition alive, each with their personal touch. Later it became a family business.
The beauty of rosolio is the versatility of the ingredients. With different ingredients every region has its own version. Whereas northern versions went commercial soon, the south kept it home made. It hardly moved from it function as a drink to offer to guests.
4. Sicilian rosolio
As it goes in other regions, Sicily uses typical products. Ranging from citrus fruit to prickly pear, from cinnamon to wild fennel and, yes, rose petals.
The history goes that rosolio cured people with cholera. So beyond a classic welcome drink it became a panacea.
The industrial production only recently lifted up. And it is a nice way to get to know this wonderful product.
5. Rose rosolio
You will need the petals of about fifty roses. Washed and selected. You then have two possibilities. Puree the petals and let it macerate in water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Then add the alcohol. Or add the petals to pure alcohol for a month. Then sugar dissolved in water (syrup) is added.