Cedrata, A Strange and Refreshing Beverage

Written by Katie Parla on May 10, 2009

cerdata

Last week I was introduced to a new (to me) and exciting beverage: cedrata, a syrupy sweet bottled drink made from the cedro (citron or etrog). These large yellow citrus fruits are native to the Middle East and were brought to Italy in the 10th century by the Arabs. They continue to thrive here, especially around Diamante in Calabria where they are ritually harvested for Sukkot in the autumn. Tassoni and other industrial producers of cedrata harvest in January and transform the citrons into a sweet beverage with a slight ginger aftertaste. I don’t know how I could have overlooked cedrata all these years. It was hugely popular in the ’70s and ’80s when it spawned some amazingly cheesy commercials (see below) that form a sort of trinity of corniness with Campari and Asti Spumanti spots. Enjoy!

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