Mistrà, the historic liqueur to be redone at home

Mistrà is a liqueur with ancient origins, flavored with anise and fennel, excellent as a digestive, an ingredient for desserts and cocktails.

The Mystras is a typical liqueur of the Italian Center, especially the Marche , specifically the town of Macerata . It is an anise-based liqueur, dry and with strong aromas, a peasant liqueur, perfect for correcting coffee , but obviously also to be sipped at the end of a meal . Its production is almost entirely homemade, although there are some companies that produce it on a larger scale, while maintaining a high level of quality. Its alcohol content varies between 40 and 45 ° C. It can also be drunk mixed with water, such as Turkish raki , Greek ouzo or pastis French .

The origins of Mistrà

Like any product, Mistrà has a history, which is also quite ancient and fascinating. The journey of this liqueur is long and tortuous: its roots go back to the East,from venice the mistrà has spread throughout northern Italywhere the use of liqueurs and spirits such as raki and ouzo has always been widespread. In the middle of the Middle Ages (and subsequently) it was Venice , at the moment of its maximum expansion on the Aegean Sea, that brought and spread this aromatic liqueur especially in Veneto and Northern Italy. Fundamental was the conquest, which took place between 1687 and 1715, of the city of the same name by the Republic of Venice. In fact, in those years the major production center of these liqueurs was precisely the city ​​of Misithra in the Peloponnese: from this place the name of the liqueur was born. The fame and use of Mistrà saw their decline in Veneto and Northern Italy with the advent of the Austrian and French dominations.

The Mistrà in the Marche: the Varnelli

Subsequently, the consumption and its production extended to Abruzzo and Marche , where over time the recipe has been perfected in peasant houses. According to some theories this drink was created to combat the effects of malaria in transhumant shepherds of the Maremma, but this has never been documented. At the end of the nineteenth century the Mistrà was rediscovered by Girolamo Varnelli , who interpreted and perfected the recipe, creating the Varnelli, the Special Dry Anise , a typical product of the Marche region.

How to prepare Mistrà at home

With a little patience and precision, it is also possible to prepare Mistrà at home according to the traditional peasant recipe.the basic recipe includes aniseed, wild fennel, coriander and orange peelThe recipe calls for the use of 400 ml of alcohol at 90 °, 20 g of anise seeds, 4 g of wild fennel seeds, 14 g of coriander seeds, the peel of 1 orange: you can find other combinations of ingredients, depending on the place or specific family of production. The ingredients are infused in a hermetically sealed container, which after being well capped, is shaken and then left to macerate for about 10 days. After this time, the syrup is prepared. Bring 500 ml of water to a boil with 500 g of sugar, let it boil for 5 minutes on a very low flame and then let it cool. While the syrup is cooking, the macerate can be filtered, which is then combined with the cold syrup, mixing everything. After this operation, it is left to rest for a couple of days. The last step is to filter everything and bottle. Obviously, like all the other various liqueur specialties based on this spice, Mistrà also has its flavor variations, albeit minimal. These can vary with the addition of wild fennel, green anise, the peel and pulp of other citrus fruits.

How to taste the Mistrà

Diluted with water and ice or with a fruit sorbet, it is pleasantly thirst-quenching. It is also increasingly used in the preparation of cocktails and long drinks . Thanks to its important aromatic component in cooking, Mistrà is used for the preparation of sweets and biscuits .

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