Vespers and Cocktails

“In Sicily, women are more dangerous than shotguns.” – The Godfather

If you’re looking for a brunch cocktail that packs the punch of the aforementioned shotgun, you could do a lot worse than the “Il Siciliano“.  I’ve always found the conventional brunch mainstay–including the mimosa–sort of boring and weak, so I did some searching for mixes that step it up a notch.  The Il Siciliano does this in spades, with its citrus and sugar delivering the requisite sweet and tropical notes, while the Cointreau provides the….well, relaxation.  Throw some freshly squeezed fruit in there and you have your self a good time.  I look forward to putting a few of these together for a brunch party in the future. Recipe and process via Manus Menu:

  • ½ lime
  • ¼ orange
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • Crushed ice
  • 3 oz Cointreau
  • Orange Juice


If you’re looking for a pertinent literary pairing for this drink you could do worse than historian John Julius Norwich’s new Sicily: An Island at the Crossroads of History….but, you could also do a lot better.  Seeing Norwich’s name across a new book should excite anyone even mildly interesting in history, as his Byzantium trilogy is one of the better popular history series I’ve ever read.  The book starts strong with Norwich livingly retelling his own personal experiences on the island and how its complex and unique history seduced him.  But the follow through simply isn’t there; Norwich is a master of prose, but the book feels shallow particularly in its middle chapters, resembling a well-written but ultimately tedious recounting of medieval lineages.  The volume provides little insight into the actual people that lived on the island, instead focusing almost exclusively on the complicated maneuverings of its ruling houses.  This lack of background or context limits the narrative, resulting in a frustrating and forgettable experience.


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