Towards the end of last year I was kindly sent a bottle of Solerno, the world’s first blood orange liqueur. It’s not like anything I’ve tried before, with a zesty but fruity kick. Hand-picked from the slopes of Sicily’s Mount Etna, Solerno is made from blood oranges (Sanguinello, and known locally as Arancia Rossa, for the deep crimson hue of its flesh) harvested at the height of their season in the Mediterranean winter. I also love the bottle, inspired by Venetian Murano style glass. It’s certainly an impressive design for our growing collection of spirits!
This drink makes me think of holidays in Italy on warm summer evenings spent on rooftop bars overlooking the Sorrento coast, or on leisurely boat trips around Capri. Italy is one of my favourite countries in the world and it holds a lot of special memories – we even got engaged in Florence, in the gardens of the Four Seasons hotel.
I was thinking about how to use it at home and I decided I really wanted to try a recipe that reflected those memories. Straight away I thought of a light and refreshing sorbet with a burst of orange flavour (and a hint of booze!) that would work brilliantly as a palate cleanser between dinner party courses, or for something to cool you down on warmer days (although we’re certainly now experiencing any of those here in Blighty just yet!)
I’ve ended up posting this on the blog much later than planned because it was a nightmare to get hold of blood oranges – I’ve cooked/baked with them before (I did a blood orange and rhubarb crumble the year before last) and they were available in December, but this year I couldn’t get them until mid-January! Fortunately it was a very simple recipe – I just poured 150ml of orange juice, 30ml of Solerno, 350ml of water, 150g of sugar and a good squeeze of blood orange into the ice cream maker, and let the machine do its magic. I served it in a martini glass with a slice of blood orange served on top.
Definitely something I’ll be doing again for a dinner party soon! You can find out more about Solerno on their website here.
I was sent a bottle of Solerno for review purposes but did not receive any payment. All views are my own.