A central theme of Verona is honoring the roots of tradition, and Angelo Pomarico brings that principle to his life. On Friday, January 17, Pomarico’s limoncello placed third in the annual Corrado’s Wine Banquet in Clifton.
Pomarico is a Verona resident of 45 years and has served as a porter at Prout Funeral Home since 2013. Before entering retirement, Pomarico worked in business-to-business sales in Essex County. It wasn’t until a few years ago, on a trip with his wife to the Italian island of Capri that Pomarico fell in love with liqueur-making. Several cafes and wine shops in Italy offered free beverage samples after dinner hours, and Pomarico became friendly with one of the shop owners who gave him the recipe for limoncello. Pomarico’s love for the sweet and zesty taste of limoncello inspired him to learn more, and his curiosity to uncover a new passion has certainly paid off.
Limoncello originated more than 100 years ago in southern Italy near Naples where it is commonly served as a dessert drink, a chilled digestivo. The drink is normally made at home, which was an attractive prospect to Pomarico.
Once he arrived back home, Pomarico became engrossed in perfecting his limoncello with the help of his son, Marc. He says tweaking his recipe frequently based on feedback from family and friends has made all the difference.
“Everyone has a different opinion on what tastes good, but combining everyone’s opinion into something new each time is where the fun comes in,” Pomarico says.
For the past four years, Pomarico has taught a class at the Caldwell Adult School and enjoys working with adults who each bring their own unique ideas to liqueur-making. His class, “Making Homemade Limoncello,” is offered twice a year, and by teaching the course, Pomarico hopes to inspire young adults to begin their own liqueur-making traditions.
Pomarico is glad to share his award-winning recipe, which includes Everclear, lemons, water, and simple sugar syrup. While most recipes begin with lemon peels soaking in Everclear, a neutral spirit, for just a few days, Pomarico says that soaking his lemon peels for nearly three weeks has made the taste richer and helps clear all unnecessary oils from the skins. Afterwards, he soaks the lemon peels in a mixture of simple sugar syrup and water to add a sweet, smooth texture to the drink. Finally, Pomarico adds an extra small amount of water to the end result to take the edge off the alcoholic taste. All of these steps are vital to making the perfect limoncello, Pomarico stresses, but the definition of perfect varies from person-to-person, so he also says that practice and feedback always helps.
In his spare time, Pomarico is also dedicated to making varieties of limoncello, such as meloncello and creamcello, both of which include boxed milk in order to create a milky finish. He tends to add food coloring in order to reflect the name of the drink; for meloncello the orange, creamy color matches that of a cantaloupe.
Pomarico aspires to enter his meloncello into Corrado’s Wine Banquet next year, and after such a positive experience in his first competition, he is eager to enter more contests and expand his liqueur-making palette. Pomarico was surprised that his drink– not technically a wine–received a bronze medal at a wine competition. He says that the judges of the event are looking to invite more creativity to the practice of alcohol-making, and Pomarico is proud to be a pioneer of that practice.
Tradition is something that Pomarico has always treasured, and he hopes that liqueur-making is something that he can pass down to his family. He is also enthusiastic to see where his talent will take him both in and out of Verona.
“At the end of the day, simply observing the reaction on the faces of my family and friends enjoying and critiquing my creations is what brings me the most joy and motivation to make this a tradition for my posterity.”
Angelo, Congratulations! Thats awesome! The Agnoli’s