Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, located at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, about 30 kilometres from the city of Naples. It is the largest of the Phlegraean Islands with a surface area of 46 square kilometres and measures 10 km east to west and 7 km north to south with about 34 km of coastline. It is almost entirely mountainous, with a lot of green tufa (green volcanic rock), and the highest peak is Mount Epomeo at 788 metres. Ischia enjoys the surrounding deep blue sea, a mild climate, full of glorious sunshine, and is particularly fertile, full of oak, Cyprus, almond, citrus, and olive trees as well as wine grapes. Without a doubt, it is the perfect place to make leafy liqueurs.
The show-stopper is Rucolino, the locally famous Amaro made from the large leaf wild grown rocket. Now celebrating 20 years of success, Rucolino is made from a closely guarded secret, but we do know that in addition to rucola (rocket), citrus features in the mix, lightening the flavour. In style terms, it’s in the dark spectrum – not orange/tangerine/citrus like Montenegro or Nonino Amaro – it’s a dark Amaro, but at the same time, it’s not as heavy as Cynar, Averna or Rabarbaro either. It’s delicious, 30% alcohol and best served cold or on ice without garnish.