Italian liqueurs have a long and ancient tradition.
Their production started from the infusion of aromatic plants and herbs that generated pharmacopeia.
The Greek physician Hippocrates, considered as the father of modern medicine, devoted a good part of his studies to herbs describing 400 medicinal plants.
The Roman physician Galen began to develop a classification of drugs based on medicinal plants.
In the middle ages, Monasteries devoted particular attention to the growing and harvesting of specific herbs and aromatic plants to be used in liqueurs for medicinal purposes.
Italian liqueurs popularity is often attributed to Catherine de Medici (13 April 1519 – 5 January 1589), who, along with her Court, brought the use of these liqueurs with her to France from her native Tuscany upon her marriage to Henry II in 1547.
Italy has a wide variety of distinctive liqueurs: a palpable quality, the result of the careful ingredient selection, strong passion, and centuries-old recipes, from North to South, Italian liqueurs tell a fascinating story.
On one hand, the botanicals remind us of the original purpose of these spirits. On the other hand, the sweet components are integral and meaningful part of proprietary formulas handed down by generations.
Amaro (or Bitter): Bitter-tasting spirit drinks or (simply) bitters are spirit drinks with a predominantly bitter taste produced by flavoring ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin with natural flavoring substances and/or flavoring preparation.
The level of bitterness varies in each brand based on the amount of sugar and types of bitter-flavor botanicals used in the recipe.
** Fernet is a subcategory of Amari and it is a strong Italian classic bitter digestif. Herbs, roots, and spices are infused with alcohol or extracted. Its aromatic taste comes exclusively from the botanicals used.
Amaretto: A liqueur which combines the sweet taste of apricot kernels with the bitterness of almonds, together with pure alcohol, caramelized sugar, and the essence of herbs and aromatic fruits including vanilla and cherry.
Limoncello: A distinctive Fruit Liqueur made of the infusion of lemon peels in alcohol. Has a very strong perfume and aroma. This liqueur compounds fresh flavor, alcohol and sugar, each element enhancing the others, all in a perfect balance.
It stems from an ancient tradition which enhances the natural taste of lemons from South of Italy.
Maraschino: A colorless liqueur whose flavor is derived mainly by a distillate of Marasca cherries or of the product obtained by macerating cherries or parts of cherries in alcohol.
Mistrà: A colorless spirit drink flavored with aniseed or natural anethole. It is a refreshing drink.
Nocino: A liqueur whose flavor is derived mainly from maceration and/or distillation of whole green walnuts. It has an intense taste and a delicate and fruity scent of walnut.
Sambuca: A colorless aniseed-flavored liqueur. Contains distillate of Anise (Pimpinella anisum L.), star anise (Illicium verum L.) or other aromatic herbs.
Liqueur with egg: A spirit drink obtained from ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin, distillate and/or spirit, the characteristic ingredients of which are quality egg yolks, egg white, and sugar or honey. It can be flavored or not.