Thursday, January 18, 2018

Rosolio or Vermouth's nonno

Ph. by Monica Bessone
It is no secret that the Savoy kings loved Rosolio so much they had made it the official royal liqueur up to 1786 when King Victor Amadeus III loved vermouth better and officially changed the royal production. 
Rosolio in all its variants is one of those products that have always unified Italy even before the unification in 1861. Despite the many versions of this distilled elixir through the boot, only Piedmont Rosolio was recognized by the Italian government as an official traditional local product.

This liqueur was born during the Renaissance and became more common once refined sugar became readily available.  It followed Catherine De' Medici to France while in Italy, it was made mainly in convents where the nuns knew how to extract the herb, flower and fruit essences to make liquors. Later, it was also made in private homes, where rose petals were macerated in a 50% alcohol and 50% sugar solution. Rosolio has always been a good base to make other liquors too.

The first Rosolio di Torino recipe was published in French in 1733. Around 1750s the Cinzano brothers start the first largest production of Rosolio and in the 19th century, Mr Carpano starts labelling his bitter rosolio Vermouth.

Its name seems to derive from the Latin 'ros solis' or sun dew and it literally means 'rose oil'; in fact, Rosolio has an intense yet delicate aroma, yet a stickiness similar to the oil one, making it ideal to close a rich meal such as the traditional Italian ones.

With the passing of the time, Rosolio became THE ladies' liqueur par excellence for its elegance, smoothness and moderate alcohol content (between 25% and 35%) and it was officially offered to all family gatherings up to being considered a good luck harbinger when drunk by newlyweds.

Besides its classic version made with rose petals, today there are many variants, some obtained by the maceration of herbs or fruit. The traditional Piedmontese Rosolio recognized by the Italian government as traditional local product is made with the essence of a mix of alpine herbs and fruits like for example: angelica, anise, orange, cocoa, citron, almonds, rose and vanilla. Because of all these spices, herbs and maceration process, we can consider it like Vermouth's grandpa 😊

Rosolio di Torino  made with rose petals

While planning your travel to Turin where you will try our local original Rosolio, you can follow this recipe and make it at home.

Rosolio recipe 

  • 30gr - 1 oz rose petals
  • 500gr - 2.5 Cups granulated sugar
  • 1L - 1 quart of water
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1L - 1 quart of 90° alcohol 

Pick the rose petals, clean and dry them with care. Put them in the alcohol together with the vanilla pod.  Let them macerate for 10 days at least, in the dark, shaking the bottle every once in a while.
As the 10 days come to an end, prepare the sugar syrup by simmering the sugar in the water. 
Let it cool off.
Filter the petals with a strainer and add the solution to the sugar syrup in a large glass jar that you can seal.

Let rest this elixir for some 15-20 days more before filtering it with a strainer covered with a cheesecloth. Bottle the liqueur and let it rest a couple days before serving it as a good luck drink at the end of a meal with your dearest friends and family member 😉

Tears of Love by Pastiglie Leone THE Turin's candies made with Rosolio

With Rosolio you can also make candies like those Princess Sisi - Empress Elisabeth of Austria used to share with her husband, Emperor Franz Joseph I 😋

... or you can just buy the Pastiglie Leone ones when you come over to Turin 😎
If you join us for an epicurean week-end you won't miss out on them for sure 🙆


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