Weekend Winos

Enthusiasts in search of quality libations to enhance weekends.

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The Prosecco “Plus” Cocktail Challenge

Prosecco Cocktails At a recent weekend winos group gathering we feasted on everything Italian.  What a treat!

It was a sunny afternoon, and everyone had bubbles on their minds, so we quickly decided to kick off the celebration with some prosecco cocktails:

La Marca Prosecco Plus Limoncello

La Marca Prosecco Plus Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup

Other than color (and yes color does influence preference) the degree of sweetness was a key determining factor.

Appearance: The cocktail plus the hibiscus flower was a winner in overall look, it does look exotic and attractive.

Sweetness: While both the limoncello and hibiscus flower syrup are sweet, the overall IMG_3141_4perception was that the hibiscus flower syrup was too sweet. Even when no syrup was added (which some with a sweet tooth did), just the flower in the prosecco was enough to make it too sweet.

Refreshing: The cocktail plus the limoncello (stored in the freezer) was more refreshing.

Overall: The prosecco plus limoncello was the one that most everyone went back for seconds and in some cases more.

These cocktails, with the accompanying bruschetta, were a great start to a long evening of celebrating every Italian!


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Limoncello Waist Wars: Stevia vs. Sugar

This weekend the group got together for the ultimate test – could limoncello made with stevia taste anything like good old home-made simple syrup?  I’ve been making limoncello for years so I have to admit I was curious about the results.  After dinner relaxing at the table with good conversation and dessert, or on a hot summer day a shot of limoncello poured over a tall vodka tonic, there are so many ways to enjoy this lemony delight.

Limoncello StarterThe Preparation:

1) I had the starter ready it had been siting on the counter in a cool place, bottle swoshed around once a day for about 6 or 7 weeks (lemon peel with no rind at all, so there is no bitterness, soaking in everclear).  Everyone volunteered to do some part of it, and we were ready to start.

2) We drained the liquid so now we had 1/2 the total volume = 6 cups to which we would add simple syrup or stevia syrup

3) Three cups of home-made simple syrup with good old sugar got underway = 3 cups sugar and 3 cups water

4) Three cups with stevia syrup – good thing that somebody read that the proper measurement would be 1 1/2 cups stevia to 3 cups water

5) Now we were ready to mix the final product resulting in 6 cups of regular limoncello and 6 cups of stevia limoncello.  We let it rest in the freezer while we ate, caught up and planned future adventures, then it was time to taste.

Seeing that we had lots of lemons the group agreed they would peel away so we could get a new starter going (it takes 6-8 weeks).  Under my close eye, to make sure none of that white rind was left on the peel, we were set, lemon peels and everclear ready to sit for another 6-8 weeks.

The Results: Limoncello Comparison

At first glance you could notice some difference in color and viscosity.  The real simple syrup (blue)  is darker yellow and the stevia version (red) slightly thicker.

The final vote for (some had to taste more than once, but only counted as one) was 70% sugar and 30% stevia.  The regular, tried and true simple syrup juts tasted better.

My guess is that the stevia version will be a perfect topper to other drinks, but for an after dinner digestivo I’ll stick with the simple syrup limoncello.

Drink responsibly and we’ll see you next weekend!