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Abruzzo Blackberry Ratafià – The Foragers’ Liqueur

by Sam Dunham

Even if you aren’t in , as brambles of a sort make an appearance on every continent this Blackberry Ratafià recipe ensures that wherever in the world you’re based you can still raise a toast to Italy’s rocky heart! Obviously you need to get in quick before the deer, badgers and foxes treat themselves to these sweet juicy berries – all have a particular liking for them apparently and although I’d love to see them delicately munching I haven’t ever come across one feasting on blackberries, but here’s hoping…

The recipe originates from Castel di Sangro, tucked away in L’’s country to the east of .  Its recent fame lays more on its football and how the local team incredibly made it up 5 leagues to ‘Serie B’ in Italy’s Football League and the subject of the book by Joe McGinnis , but historically its fame lay in providing the ancestral home to the 3rd house of Caesar.

Unlike Abruzzo’s more usual recipe for Cherry Ratafià, it doesn’t call for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo to be the base rather just water.  For those feeling the ‘pinch’ and without their own vines this is no doubt manna from heaven as with a little bit of foraging this could end up as a cheap but delicious liqueur ready to settle down with on a frosty day – oops evening!  You do need to patiently wait 2 months from first going out picking your blackberries ready for this to be drinkable.

Blackberry Ratafià Recipe

Ingredients
1kg Blackberries
1 Kg Sugar
1l of Alcohol

Method

Wash the blackberries in iced water, drain and leave to air dry.
Add the berries into a bowl and crush them, mix in the sugar and alcohol.
Cover and steep for 3 weeks in a well ventilated sunny room.
On the 3rd week add 1/2 litre of boiled water, allow the mixture to rest for 7 days.
Strain and bottle but leave 1 month before drinking!!

Vocab Tip – More ~ Blackberries

View other from Castel di Sangro (in Italian)