Now that the summer is starting to make it’s mark, I always like to have a bit of Ruġġata tal-Lewz in my refrigerator, diluted with water and ready to pour and enjoy. It’s the perfect thirst quencher and goes down like honey on those hot hot days when it feels like you’re being cooked from the inside out.
Back in the 70’s, my mum would take my sister, brother and me to Valletta on those well known hot Maltese summer days, and after a morning at the market, we would always look forward to going to Zachary Street in Valletta for that chilled ruġġata that would cool our senses or rather induce instant brain freeze. I believe that shop no longer sells ruġġata there as Valletta’s changed a lot since the 70’s.
There would always be a crowd huddled at that little corner window shop with everybody shouting
“Hey, boy, it’s my turn” while waving their liras about to get “the boy’s” attention.
And with great patience he would serve everyone with a smile, knowing that in that heat, everyone’s hot temper would be just about ready to explode.
This is the home made version of our delectable almond cordial…
It might seem like it has a lot of sugar, but don’t forget that you have to dilute this and you only use about a quarter cup to about eight ounces of water and ice!
5 cups water
1-2 sticks cinnamon
2 tsp almond essence (or more to taste)
1 tsp vanilla essence
evaporated milk (about a quarter cup)
Place the water, sugar, lemon rind, cloves and cinnamon in a pot and let it boil.
Reduce the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat.
When the mixture cools, pass it through a sieve to remove rind and cloves.
Add essences and a little bit of evaporated milk.
Pour in clean bottles and place them in the fridge.
Dilute with water to taste.