One of Italy’s largest selling liquers, Strega was first introduced by the Alberti family in Benevento, Southern Italy, in 1860. As the story goes, Giuseppe Alberti found monks from the town who made this liquor. He eventually coaxed the secret recipe from them and started to produce it as Alberti Medical Elixer. It did not sell. So he renamed it “Strega” (meaning “witch’s love potion”). Evidently this title had more appeal! Todays marketing guru’s have only slightly elaborated the theme: “According to a local folk tale, beautiful maidens disguised as witches once mixed a magic drink in the city of Benevento. Tradition decreed that when two people tasted this drink they would be forever united.”
Nevertheless, this is an excellent liqueur. Neutral yellow in colour, Strega is made from the flavours of over seventy herbs and barks such as mint, fennel, and saffron, to a formula which may be centuries old. Produced in pot-stills and aged in wood after blending, it is a popular liqueur drunk neat and is very good (as are all liqueurs) with ice-cream.