Abruzzo Blackberry Ratafià – The Forager’s Liqueur

This Blackberry Ratafià recipe ensures that wherever in the world you’re based and whatever your budget you can still raise a toast to Italy’s rocky heart! Obviously, you need to get in quick before the deer, badgers and foxes treat themselves to these sweet juicy berries – all have a particular liking for them apparently and although I’d love to see them delicately munching I haven’t ever come across one feasting on blackberries, but here’s hoping…

The recipe originates from Castel di Sangro, tucked away in L’Aquila’s bear country to the east of Pescasseroli.  Its recent fame lies more from Niko Romito who has Michelin 3 star Michelin restaurant Reale here, also winner of Italy’s Best Restaurant!  It is the location of many a skier in the winter months, but historically its fame lay in providing the ancestral home to the 3rd house of Caesar.

Unlike Abruzzo’s more usual recipe for Cherry Ratafià, it doesn’t call for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo to be the base but rather just water.  For those feeling the ‘pinch’ and without their own vines this is no doubt manna from heaven as with a little bit of foraging this could end up as a cheap but delicious liqueur ready to settle down with on a frosty Autumn day – oops evening!  You do need to patiently wait 2 months from first going out picking your blackberries ready for this to be drinkable.

Blackberry Ratafià Recipe

1kg Blackberries
1 Kg Sugar
1l of Alcohol


Wash the blackberries in iced water, drain and leave to air dry.
Add the berries into a bowl and crush them, mix in the sugar and alcohol.
Cover and steep for 3 weeks in a well-ventilated sunny room.
On the 3rd week add 1/2 litre of boiled water, and allow the mixture to rest for 7 days.
Strain and bottle but leave 1 month before drinking!!

Vocab Tip – More ~ Blackberries

View other recipes from Castel di Sangro (in Italian)


Sam Dunham
Author: Sam Dunham

Sam is a very lucky midlife 'mamma' to A who is 12 and juggles her work as a self-employed freelance SEO food and travel copywriter and EFL teacher. She is the founder of the Life In Abruzzo Cultural Association, co-founder of Let's Blog Abruzzo. she is the founder of the 'English in the Woods' initiative, teaching English outdoors in a forest style school.

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