Sipping in Sicily: A Guide to Sicilian Drinks

28th December 2017
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Blood Orange


Last week, we salivated our way through an introduction to the world-beating food of Sicily. Today the temptations continue, as we peruse the traditional drinks you can enjoy on a Sicily holiday.

Without further ado, bottoms up! Or, as the Sicilians say, Â saluti!

• Espresso – These islanders like their coffee strong, so start your day Sicilian style, knocking back a robust, steaming espresso at a busy Palermo bar
• Fresh Blood Orange Juice – Sicily is the world’s largest producer of this juicy crimson fruit, so it’d be a great shame not to gulp some down while you’re staying on the island. Add Prosecco for a sensational sparkling drink
• Sicilian Craft Beers – To wash down your lunchtime pizza, why not try one of Sicily’s new breed of craft beers? You’ll be following in some historic footsteps: research indicates that the Phoenicians were trading and consuming beer here as long ago as the 7th century BC. Modern craft breweries, such as the Catanian company Birrificio Timilia, use strong Sicilian infusions such as honey and lemon, to give their brews a characteristic flavour
• Nero D’Avola – This popular red wine is considered by many to be the characteristic wine of Sicily. Thought to have originated near Syracuse, the “black grapes of Avola” are now grown throughout the region. A fruity, peppery flavour that pairs well with rich meat dishes
• Marsala – The western town of Marsala is very much worth a visit for its Carthaginian port and ancient warship, but the area is, of course, also known for its eponymous dessert wine. A blend of white grape varietals, Marsala comes in three colours – golden, amber and ruby – and is thought to have been introduced to the area by English trader, John Woodhouse, at the end of the 18th century
• Zibbibo – Lastly, while we’re on the subject of foreign introductions, let’s talk about Zibbibo. Apparently introduced by Saracen Arabs in around the 9th century AD, these white grapes grow throughout Sicily, and are used to make both fortified and non-fortified wines. On the tiny Sicilian outpost of Pantelleria, less than 40 miles east of Tunisia, the traditional production of two sweet Zibbibo moscatos has even earned local vintners a place on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list


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