What could be more refreshing during the dog days of summer than a drink that features the tart taste of lemon? Here in the North End on a scorching August evening, a young girl, perhaps nine or ten years old, is selling homemade lemonade from a tiny stand on Cooper Street. There is a line of customers outside Polcari’s waiting for a cup of Bobby’s famous lemon slush; the same recipe since 1932, not too sweet, not too tart-just right! And our tour participants have just ended their tour at V. Cirace’s with a parting toast of their Limoncello. With a little imagination, we could almost be in Italy….
If we were actually in Italy, Venice to be exact, we would probably be indulging in a Sgroppino– a lemon-flavored icy-smooth, frothy glass of alcoholic bliss. First served in 16th century aristocratic Ventian homes in the sultry summer months, a Sgroppin, as it is known in Venetian dialect, played the role of a palate cleanser between the various courses of the meal.
In modern Venice, a classic Sgroppino is made with lemon sorbetto, vodka, and prosecco, and the recipe could not be simpler:
You will need: (serves 4)
1 C. lemon sorbet
1/4 C. vodka
2 C. prosecco
lemon slices and mint leaves for garnish.
Chill four champagne flutes in the freezer. Place all the ingredients in a chilled metal mixing bowl. Using a whisk, beat them together by hand quickly. Spoon the mixture into the four flutes, garnish with a slice of lemon and a mint leaf, and serve.
written by Jim Becker