Tag Archives: Italian Spirits

Tasting Notes: Liquore Strega

I now have a greater appreciation for the Italian liquor industry. It’s clear by the products available that there’s not only a fair amount of tradition, but a fair amount of stories to go along with the tradition (which, I suppose, is how traditions are created).

Off the top of my head there’s Amaretto, Nocello, Frangelico, Lemoncello, Campari, Fernet-Branca – that, my friends, is a very decent collection for a bar. As a measure of comparison, the English have gin and…well, you could say they have whiskey, but the Scotch and the Irish would be a little peeved at that.

Liquore Strega is an 80 proof herbal concoction, with a reputed 70 ingredients. Amongst those ingredients include mint, saffron and fennel. Strega is now the second liquor I’ve found with saffron, with Fernet-Branca being the first.

The story behind Strega is interesting as well. In 1860, Giuseppe Alberti found monks from Benevento, Campania who made this liquor. Promising to do nothing but good with the recipe, and coaxed the secret recipe from them. At first he sold it as a medical elixer (as many liquors were). Sales were poor. Smart businessman that he was, he decided to sell it as a liquor instead. He renamed it to Liquore Strega, which roughly translates to liquor of the witch. From there, the sales took off.

Strega is best served alone, either straight up or on the rocks.

Eyes:Strega is a bright yellow, nearly fluorescent yellow. It is saffron that gives it this color. Swirling the liquor in a glass shows it to be a nearly viscous syrup.

Nose: Strong, very medicinal.

Taste: Let it be said that Strega is a very complex drink. It starts sweet from the sugar, but then it becomes very bitter from the herbal components. Not herbal in an Absinthe sense, but more in a robituseen sans-codeine sense. The tail end of drink finishes with a strong liquorice flavor, most likely coming from the fennel.

Overall: Not my favorite drink, being too herbal in it’s nature. With me being an American, my tastes tend towards the sweeter drinks.

Technorati Tags: Spirits, Liquore Strega, Review,

Found in the Aisles: Cynar Liqueur – Made from Artichokes

There’s really no build up, no introductory paragraph that I can give to this post that will explain the following:

Artichoke Liqueur, known under the brand of Cynar.

When walking through the liquor store, I had to have it, even if only for a conversation piece.

The liquid itself looks almost like a cola-color, with a slight tint of red. I mixed it in some club soda and tasted.

It wasn’t that bad at all. In fact, I thought it to be rather pleasant. The best way I can describe it is that it tastes like a milder Campari. There’s a bit of sweetness along with bitterness. At 16% alcohol, it’s not a strong drink.

I would drink this again, although I’ll have to wait until I have a desire for a Campari-like drink. It is a drink that takes some getting used to.

But still…artichoke liqueur. I would have never thought that such a drink existed, let alone taste pretty good.

Technorati Tags: Drinks, Liqueurs, Cynan, Artichokes