Blackberry Cooler

Makes 4 drinks

  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • ⅔ cup sugar + ½ cup sugar, divided 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 mint leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (plus 4 lemon slices for garnish) 12 ounces good quality lemon-lime soda

Place the blackberries, ⅓ cup sugar, ginger and mint leaves in a food processor (or blender) and pulse about 10 times or until the mixture is consistently chopped; it should look like a textured applesauce. Set aside.

In a small pot, mix the ½ cup sugar with ½ cup water and simmer, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Chill the lemon syrup in the fridge for about an hour.

Fill 4 glasses with ice. Put a heaping spoonful of the berry mixture in the bottom of the glass. Divide the lemon mixture evenly among the four glasses and give the drink a stir.

Top each drink with a few ounces of the lemon-lime soda and garnish with a lemon slice. Serve immediately.


The Alexis- Don Ciccio & Figli

By Jeremy Bowers

Looking for a distinctive and bitter ingredient for your short winter cocktails? The Tuscan green walnut liqueur nocino (no-CHEE-no) might be for you. Nocino is traditionally spiced with cinnamon and clove, two flavors that pair well with the holiday season. The walnuts are picked in the summer and macerated until January, when they are bottled and left to rest until March.  

Francesco Amodeo of DC distiller Don Ciccio & Figli’s says his nocino recipe was first recorded by his grandfather in 1931. His grandmother perfected it years later and it’s her recipe they use today. 

Amodeo sources unripe walnuts from a farm in California. In late June, he splits and macerates the soft green walnuts in a neutral grain spirit. Cinnamon, cloves and other spices are added in September. The spirit rests “until it is ready,” according to Amodeo, and they bottle it by January. He prefers to use as little sugar as possible, because he likes to “let the walnuts speak for themselves.” Don Ciccio & Figli serve The Alexis at their tasting room / bar at 6301 Kansas Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20011. Only 520 cases were produced this year. Available in March 2017 at their tasting room (Saturdays, 1–6pm) or online.  

The Alexis

  • 1 ounce bourbon 
  • 1 ounce Don Ciccio & Figli Nocino 
  • 1 ounce Don Ciccio & Figli Amaro delle Sirene 
  • 2 dashes orange bitters 
  • 1 orange peel, twisted

Stir the liquors together with ice. Pour into a coupe; splash the bitters; add the orange twist.

Fiola’s Holiday Punch: A Winter’s Tale

Warming, brisk, fruity and bubbly, this is a sensational punch to start a holiday celebration dinner. 

Recipe by Luca Giovannini, Corporate Beverage Director, Fabio Trabocchi Restaurants

Serves 6

  • 1 cup Calvados or other apple brandy 
  • 1 cup spiced honey syrup (recipe follows)* 
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice 
  • 3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice  
  • 1/2 cup Prosecco   
  • Slices of lemon and orange and strips of lemon zest for garnish 

Combine the brandy, spiced honey syrup, fruit juices, and prosecco in a large punch bowl with ice. Garnish with slices of orange and lemon. 

For each serving, twist a strip of lemon zest over the glass just before serving. 

  • Spiced honey syrup 
  • 1 cup honey 
  • 1 cup water  
  • 3 cinnamon stick (broken into pieces) 
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom  
  • 1 teaspoon allspice 
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves  

Toast the spices in pan over low heat until fragrant. Add the honey and water, and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Let the mixture cool down and strain through cheesecloth. 

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