In the new special, Dream of Italy: Travel, Transform and Thrive, host Kathy McCabe visits with famed Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola at his boutique hotel in his ancestral hometown of Bernalda in the southern Italian region of Basilicata. Ciccio is the classic house cocktail at Palazzo Margherita. Not only do guests from all over the world drink it, but the local Bernaldesi too, who drink their aperitivo at the hotel’s Cinecittà bar. There’s even a non-alcoholic version, so everybody can enjoy it! What does “Ciccio” mean? Ciccio is the nickname for Francesco in the south of Italy. At Palazzo Margherita, of course, it is a tribute to the “boss” Francis (Francesco) Coppola!
Rosella De Filippo, the hotel’s general manager, remembers the first time Coppola saw this beautiful drink. “They were in the trays of our waiters going back and forth from the bar, he curiously asked what it was. He snickered when he discovered the reason for that name! Moreover, he is also proud that the Ciccio is made with fresh herbs and lemons only grown in our garden. By the way: Sofia Coppola is a great fan of the non-alcoholic version.” So whip up a Ciccio and say a toast to the maestro Francis (Francesco) Ford Coppola!
- ½ lemon
- 1 ½ tsp brown sugar
- 4 basil leaves
- 1.5 oz vodka
- 2.5 oz tonic water
- 2.5 oz Cedrata (classic Italian soft drink)
- Rosemary, to garnish
- Cut ½ a lemon into wedges. Muddle the lemon with the brown sugar in a tall glass. Then, add 4 leaves of basil and continue muddling.
- Add ice to fill the glass. Add 1.5 oz vodka and stir. Then, add 2.5 oz tonic water and 2.5 oz Cedrata (or other citrus soda).
- Garnish the glass with rosemary and basil.
Photo by Gundolf Pfotenhauer