I don't drink alcohol. At least, not as a rule. I think the last drink I had was in October 2009 - until a couple of weeks ago. It's not through aversion to the demon drink; it's just that it can trigger a migraine. But I was tempted by GB's range of liqueurs. I can't resist them.
I've had an Amaretto, a Cointreau and some Sheridan's and, for the first time, I had a drop of Strega.
It's gone quite quickly on to my favourite liqueurs list. Strega (or Liquore Strega), is an Italian herbal liqueur produced since 1860 in Benevento, Campania, Italy. Its yellow colour comes from the presence of saffron in its recipe. Liquore Strega is 80 proof (40%) and among its approximately 70 herbal ingredients are mint and fennel. Strega is considered a digestif, meant for drinking after meals.
Pietro ANNIGONIStrega is Italian for to bewitch or a witch, hex, hag, harridan, sorceress.
Many years ago I compiled a list of my favourite liqueurs and it included:-
Amaretto Disaronno (Disaranno Originale – 28% abv - has an almond flavour but contains no almonds or nuts. Disaronno claims its "originale" amaretto's "secret formula" is unchanged from the year 1525,)
Lazzaroni Amaretto (24% abv), produced by Paolo Lazzaroni & Figli S.p.A., also presents itself as the first such liqueur. However, it is based on an infusion of Amaretti di Saronno (macaroons), a process which imparts a "delicate almond/apricot flavour". Lazzaroni claim the tale of the young couple blessed by the bishop as the origin of their generations-guarded family recipe, dating it to 1718; the amaretto has been in production since 1851.
Tia Maria (Sugar cane/coffee. The first liqueur I ever had and, apart from a medicinal brandy or two the first alcohol I had. A small Tia Maria with cream being given to me by my Uncle Jack, a pub landlord, when I was about thirteen.)
Cherry Bounce (made by steeping cherries and sugar in brandy. The English hamlet of Frithsden claims to have originated the Cherry Bounce. A lane leading off the Old High Street in nearby Hemel Hempstead is named Cherry Bounce and is shown having this name in maps dating back to the early 19th century. My favourite for some years.)
Drambuie (whisky/herbs/heather honey)
Advocaat (eggs. Like Marmite - you either love it or hate it.)
Malibu (Coconut. Another one which reached the top of the list for a while in the 1980s)
Blue Curacao (orange peel)
Grand Marnier (oranges/cognac)
Crerne de Grand Marnier
At the time (it was about the late '80s), the only two I disliked were Pernod liqueur d'anise and Creme de Menthe whilst Cadbury's Cream liqueur was not rated highly.
Since then I've added Bailey's Irish Cream and Sheridan's Irish coffee cream liqueur to my list of favourites.
The number of flavourings in liqueurs is remarkable. Chartreuse has no less than a hundred and thirty herbs. All their flavours are enhanced by serving them chilled or with ice. To get the best of the bouquet they should be drunk from a balloon glass rather than the standard full-up liqueur glass and by people whose noses aren't blocked!
Next on my list to try are - Anisette; Benedictine; Creme de Cassis; Irish Mist; Orange Brandy; Vielle Cure and Stag's Breath (Speyside malts and fermented comb honey). At an average rate of one drink every ten months its going to take me a while, especially since our local 'Bargain Booze' and supermarkets don't sell anything except Malibu!
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