Prosciutto in Your Drink? Why, Yes!

by Cynthia Sin-Yi Cheng
October 27, 2010

Apple sour di ParmaCynthia Sin-Yi Cheng

Prosciutto di Parma

In the recent savory cocktail craze, I’ve found the concept enticing, but I didn’t really care for the savory flavors in my own drink. So when I was served an apple drink with a prosciutto infusion at a recent Prosciutto di Parma tasting, I was expecting to take a sip, appreciate the effort and put down the drink.

But I didn’t get the sweet-and-salty shock that I expected. In fact, I took several sips to try to confirm whether this drink had any porky prosciutto flavors in it at all. Then, the epiphany came: The savory flavors worked so well with both the sweetness and acidity of the other ingredients that it became part of the structure of the drink and not an awkward solo note. I loved it and finished the drink quickly.

I also learned a few things I’d never known about this famous Italian ham:

  1. It comes from heavy, heavy pigs (min weight: 350 lbs).
  2. Their special diet consists of cereals, grains and whey.
  3. The pork is cured for at least 400 days before it’s imported to the U.S. as Parma Ham.
  4. The secret of its simplicity: pork, sea salt and the microclimate of Parma, Italy.
  5. The pork is hand-salted by a maestro salatore (salting expert).
  6. Once the bone is removed, the ageing stops.
  7. 30% of the weight is lost through ageing.

Prosciutto di Parma crown seal

For those who want to experience a savory drink that isn’t savory to the taste, Prosciutto di Parma can be found at the deli counter in most gourmet shops and high-end supermarkets. Ask for it by name or look for the Parma crown branded on the side (See photo above). Here’s the recipe:

Apple Sour di Parma Cocktail created by Richard Reyes of SD26

1 oz Prosciutto di Parma infused Calvados
1 oz cranberry juice
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz simple syrup
Splash of Prosecco

To make the Prosciutto di Parma infused Calvados:

  • Cut about 4 slices (2 ounces) Prosciutto di Parma in small pieces. In a sauté pan, over medium heat, cook the pieces until crisp and the fat has rendered out. Drain on paper towels. Cool slightly and roughly chop the ham.
  • In a pint-size mason jar or other glass jar, combine the chopped Prosciutto di Parma and 8 ounces Calvados.
  • Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours (up to three days). Strain and transfer to a clean jar. To remove the last traces of rendered fat, freeze the infused brandy for 3-4 hours and remove any solidified fat. Strain again through cheese cloth or a cloth napkin.
  • Prosciutto di Parma infused Calvados can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks or frozen indefinitely.

To make the cocktail:

  • Mix infused Calvados with lemon juice, simple syrup and cranberry juice.
  • Shake for 10 seconds, strain into a cocktail glass.
  • Top off with a splash of Prosecco.
  • Garnish with slice of green apple and lemon round and a small slice of Prosciutto di Parma.

Eccolo qua! Buon appettito!


Comments (2)


Oct 27, 08:14 AM

Wonderful concept! I will concoct something today and toast to Sin-Tien (wink wink).


Oct 29, 06:29 AM

Sounds fantastic, I will have to have it next time I am there. Has the sun crossed the yard yet?

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