Mirto (Sardinian Myrtle Berry Liqueur)

The series of recipes from our trip to Sardinia has not ended yet. One of the goodies I brought home with me, was a bag of dried myrtle berries. I did not only use them to make wild boar with myrtle berries, but also to make the national liqueur called mirto. Mirto is best when made using fresh myrtle berries, but those are hard to get outside of Sardinia (or Corsica). Dried myrtle berries are easy to store and ship, so you can probably order them online. The process for making mirto is similar to limoncello — but less work as it does not involve peeling lemons. It does involve a lot of waiting, but it is worth it as the liqueur is very nice.

Ingredients

Makes about 1/2 litre (2 cups)

50 grams (1/2 cup) dried myrtle berries soaked in 125 ml (1/2 cup) water (or 175 grams fresh myrtle berries)

260 ml (1 cup) water

105 grams (1/2 cup) sugar

175 ml (3/4 cup) 95% proof alcohol

Instructions

For making mirto you will need a glass container that can be closed hermetically.

If using dried myrtle berries, combine them with cold water in the glass container…

…and allow them to reconstitute overnight.

Do not discard the soaking water, but simply add the alcohol to it.

Stir.

Close the container and allow it to sit in a dark place…

…for about 6 weeks. The alcohol will draw most of the flavor out of the berries.

Now it is time to make a simple syrup. In a saucepan combine water and sugar.

Bring to a boil, stirring, then allow to boil for a minute. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.

Strain the liquid through a fine sieve and discard the berries.

Add the syrup once it has cooled, and stir. Your mirto is now ready to be bottled. Allow to rest for at least a week before trying. Serve cold as a digestive after dinner (from the refrigerator or the freezer).

Flashback

DSC07171

Veal roulade stuffed with pistachios and prosciutto. The combination of veal, prosciutto and sage is well-known from Saltimbocca. The addition of toasted pistachios adds an interesting element in terms of both texture and flavor.

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