Do you remember the very bad food critic Anton Ego conquered by the ratatouille cooked by the mouse-chef Rémy? That caponata enchanted the pestiferous writer, bringing him back to his shy childhood with the evocative power of the flavour. This newborn Sicilian amaro, the Nepèta, did the same with me. It brought me back to the years when as kids, after a game of ballon, we had our nepeta 1 glasses filled with granita half lemon flavored and half mint flavored. He was a blatant imitation of the "grown-ups" who in those days still drank Green-Grey at the bar. A concoction of grappa and mint that disappeared in the seventies and that all of us never really tasted. Here, basically the Nepèta is all there, lemon and mint. However, to say so is an understatement: because it is true that it is a flavor that takes us back to the past. Yet today it sounds like brand new.
Nepèta takes its name from Nepitella, a sort of Sicilian Hierba buena. In reality quite widespread, in its numerous variants (including catnip), also in other regions: many call it mint. Then, a local glory, the lemons of Syracuse. And then, some typical bitter herbs in moderate quantities: those made known are Artemisia, bitter orange, gentian. All this is very captivating also because the sugar (12%) does not appear dominant or cloying even if you drink pure Nepèta. It is an amaro, but it also lends itself very well to an aperitif with the simple addition of ice or in long drinks with tonic water or other sodas.