Lemons. They’re all over the place in the narrow streets of olive and stone-soaked Amalfi. Lemons in baskets. Lemons on walls. Lemon shaped soap and even, if you look hard enough, lemons on trees.
Lemons on aprons, lemons on beads. Lemons on menus and even on cheese.
Yet for all the creative lemonery that Amalfi and its namesake coast inspires, there’s one clear winner when it comes to citrus-swishing indulgence.
And it’s not lemonade.
That’s right, it’s limoncello, a drink concocted from the core principles of lemonade (lemons and sugar) but brought to Mediterranean life by the cheeky addition of alcohol. Lemon peel (strictly speaking from the lemons of Sorrento only) cosy up to grain alcohol for a while before syrup gets involved and the party really begins.
It’s served as a digestif. And an aperitif. And you’ll also find it in boot-shaped glass bottles with Italia scrawled across.
But despite these levels of ostentation, it’s actually refreshingly sweet. Tangy, tasty, twisty. Somehow, limoncello manages to dance around its perceived dalliances with cold and flu remedies and children’s playground sherbet to emerge as a serious alternative to whisky and gin in a gentleman’s oak polished drinks cabinet.
Or so it seems when you’re here.
In the central courtyard of Amalfi, where fountains fizz and flagstones dazzle, fresh and wet beneath the moonlight and the sparkling shadows of the soft summer rain…well, anything sounds like a good idea.
Even a spirit called limoncello. Served in the shape of a boot.
Info, disclosure and all that jazz…
I discovered limoncello in Amalfi thanks to Headwater Holidays who enticed me to this brilliantly beautiful slice of Italian coast with the wholesome promise of walking along it. This I did, in due course, but these tales of lemons and limoncello come from one of the shorter walks. From clifftop hotel to the centre of town on my first night in southern Italy. Salute!
Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. Now published by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN, National Geographic Traveler & more, she feels most at home experimenting here: covering unusual journeys, thoughtful travel and luxury on www.insidethetravellab.com