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Category Archives: Drinks

Virgin White Sangria

I made this refreshing drink for a bridal shower and everyone loved it! It is tart and refreshing! Sorry I don’t have a photo. It’s a light neutral pink color. It’s very easy and uncomplicated.

Mix this up just before serving. The sparkling water will get flat if it sits too long. Or you can combine the 3 juices. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve, and then add the sparkling water and fruit when you’re ready to party!

4 cups 100% white grape juice (Welch’s is best!)

1 cup FRESH pink grapefruit juice or more

2 tablespoons FRESH lime juice or more (I used an entire lime)

1 liter sparkling water

Add more of the tart flavors if you like.

Add fresh sliced limes and peeled fresh grapefruit segments and serve in a cool bowl, pitcher or beverage dispenser. I use the peeled grapefruit segments packed in natural unsweetened juice you can find in the produce refrigerated sections.

You can also make an ice ring out of the punch ingredients with some lime and grapefruit slices added.

Sorrento, Making Limoncello and Beyond

The first evening of our 2nd week in Sorrento, we walked to the Museo Correale of Terranova to see a performance of Italian opera and Neopolitan songs. This venue was a palace full of decorative arts and art collections. The performance was in a room that seated about 100 people. Most of the audience were English. The 2 vocalists  and 3 instrumentalists were phenomenal! A huge sound in a room much smaller than an opera house!


Beautiful views before the concert near the museum.

The next day we visited the San Francesco Church and Cloisters and saw a photography exhibit of local historical mid century memories. And there were stunning views!


Here is a photo of a scene we’ve seen in Sorrento. Young love!

Francesco Church and Cloisters


Yes that is Mt Vesuvius!

Our host, Gino Coppola and his extended family invited us to lunch and a cooking lesson in their home.

Nutnapha finds Italian cooking easy compared to Thai cooking! She enjoys them both!


Youngest Daughter is Mama’s Girl!

Gino and his niece


The clams have been cleaned and scooped out and sauteed in garlic and olive oil. Then broth and white wine are added


Roughly chopped garlic and parsley to saute


Add sliced zucchini


Brown zucchini and drain on paper toweling


Toss with cooked spaghetti and add the clams and broth. Add butter and parmesan and toss repeatedly


These clams are scrubbed and combined in a large pot with roughly chopped garlic and parsley and olive oil. Place over heat and cover till opened.


Serve as a second course with bread. Bread is not served with pasta!!!


Nutnapha Going Out to Coffee on Her Motorbike

One day we drove on our own to the Masa Lubrense region, took a walk to a small monastery up in the hills, and stopped for lunch at a tiny family cafe.

But first we returned to a tiny town, Marina Cantone, which we explored with Sorrento friends 25 years ago


On to the tiny monastery up in the hills.

Fresh orange juice and lemon juice with only water added, NO sugar!



Fried Zucchini Flowers, Pickled Zucchini, Proscuitto and Sausage



A Thin Layering of Tomato Meat Sauce and Cheese Layered Lasagne


Sfogliatella is a Neopolitan Pastry Filled With Ricotta Served With Limoncello


Sfogliatella is a ruffle of layers filled with ricotta that’s sometimes lemon flavored. Sfogliatella means small thin leaves/layers as the pastry resembles stacked leaves.


Gino’s sister gave us lessons in making limoncello. This was one of the highlights of the trip!


The old style basket and rope with a hook for your back


The lessons in making limoncello were a 3 stage process. 


14 lemons

2 liters 96% alcohol (This is grain alcohol in the USA, which you can’t buy it in Michigan, but you can in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Vodka is not a good substitute) 

2 1/2 liters water

1 kg sugar (2.2 pounds) You can add an extra 1/4 pound if you like it sweeter


First pick the lemons when they still have a little green on the ends.



Then peel carefully only the yellow skin, not the white, and place in a large glass container. 



Above is some mandarincello which was delish! They also use oranges and make various blends.

Pour the 96% alcohol over the lemon and let sit a few days


Mix a syrup of sugar and water and heat until dissolved. Cool overnight. Pour into the lemon alcohol mix. Let sit a few days.

The cooled sugar syrup is added to the lemon rind and grain alcohol mixture


The lemon will become like leather.

The texture of the lemon peel has become a leather-like


The Limoncello is ready to sit and develop it’s flavor for several days


Mix the limoncello with a wooden spoon.  Line a funnel with rolled cotton. Collect your containers


With a ladle, pour the limoncello through the cotton and funnel into the glass bottle.


The completed limoncello ready to distribute!


Gino’s sister and her husband


We work well together! 


Thank you Coppola  Family!

Drinking Vinegar! An old time cocktail

Drinking Vinegar! An old time cocktail

We tried a drinking vinegar in Portland Oregon and now in Midland Michigan. Loving the Michigan Beet & Carrot mixed with sparkling water. 1 part vinegar to 4 parts sparkling water. Refreshing! Thank you Mercato di O & V, our own oil and vinegar store on Main Street in Midland!

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Balsamic Vinegar Apertif

Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar is Delicious as an Apertif

Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar is Delicious as an Apertif

As an after dinner drink to settle the stomach, balsamic vinegars have long been a favorite. This week I discovered Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar at Peggy Finger’s oil & vinegar shop in Midland. It is addicting! The color is so beautiful and bright and it has a perfect combo of tart and fruitiness!

After drinking a few glasses of wine at a dinner party, an alcohol free digestive like the original and flavored balsamic vinegars we have today are a welcome change to the high alcohol limoncello, grappa, brandies and cordials usually served. They settle the stomach and give us a chance to use our fancy cordial glasses tucked away in our cabinets!  Enjoy!

For info about the craft of making balsamic vinegar:

Mercato di O & V is Peggy Finger’s shop located on Rodd Street 1/2 block off of Main Street, downtown Midland.

Sangria, Alcohol-Free

Jim preparing the Sangria

Jim preparing the Sangria

This is an alcohol-free version of sangria which is usually made with red wine and brandy.

2 cups boiling water
2 black tea bags (or 2 teaspoons loose-leaf tea in an infuser)
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 orange, sliced into thin rounds
1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
1 lime, sliced into thin rounds
1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 cups carbonated water

  • Pour boiling water over tea bags and cinnamon sticks and steep for 5 minutes. Discard tea bags and stir in sugar to dissolve.
  • In a large jar or pitcher, combine tea, cinnamon sticks, pomegranate juice, orange juice, orange, lemon, lime, and apple. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and preferably overnight.
  • Just before serving, stir in carbonated water. Serve in glasses over ice.


Thank you to Mary Ann Anschutz for discovering this recipe!