A beautiful yellow herbal liqueur was developed in 1860 by father-son team Carmine and Giuseppe Alberti. Their town of Benevento was a legendary gathering place for witches, so they named their product Strega, the Italian word for "witch."
They used umpteen (70!) delicious ingredients, including Florentine iris, Ceylon cinnamon, Samnite mint, and Italian Apennine juniper, with precious saffron added to create the sunshine hue. The liqueur is aged in ash barrels before bottling.
Strega has been compared to Yellow Chartreuse, and like that liqueur, it's great in cocktails, but also sipped on its own as a digestif.
Personally, I love the bottle, and wish I had a fancy bar on which to display it. The embossed starburst design and Art Nouveau label invites a closer look.
Now that I've tried Strega, I want to sample the company's sweets, which include chocolates, torrone (nougat), and pandoro (a holiday bread similar to panettone) filled with Strega cream. Unfortunately, it looks like most of it is only available in Italy, which means I'll have to plan an overseas trip sometime soon. Check out their sweets catalog here.
How do I like to drink Strega? I prefer it in a cocktail. There's one called a Stazione (train station) made with equal parts Strega, Fernet, and sweet vermouth. I swapped out the Fernet for a locally produced amaro flavored with coffee and added a hint of citrus. It's reminiscent of an Old Fashioned, but far more herbal and aromatic. I call it the...
1 ounce Strega Liqueur
1 ounce Baltimore Spirits Company Baltimaro #3
1 ounce Red Vermouth
2 ounces lemon-flavored sparkling water (I used LaCroix limoncello)
Twist of orange peel
Stir the liqueurs together with ice and strain into a glass. Pour in the water and add the twist.
The coffee of the Baltimaro and the lemon water are reminiscent of an espresso with lemon peel, so now I want to pour some Strega over coffee ice cream. Or concoct an ice cream flavored with Strega....
What would you like to see me make?
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Posted on Minxeats.com.