"One enjoys one drinks as much as one's thirst". Thus wrote the great Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) in the 20th canto of Purgatory of his universally known Divine Comedy. In the same period, "spirit" drinks began their unstoppable journey towards popularity. The elixir of Sardinia is the Mirto (myrtle), a liqueur with an alcohol content of 30-35 degrees obtained by cold hydroalcoholic infusion or dark purple berries or leaves: with the first one obtains the red myrtle, with the second the white myrtle is there. Both delicious when served cold, boast tonic and digestive properties. The fruit of the myrtle ripens towards November and from this period throughout the winter the berry harvest is carried out, entirely by hand: there are no machines capable of replacing the man, capable of detaching the berries from the plant without offending the shrub .
First of all, get one or more glass containers with an airtight seal to hold all the berries. Then start to clean the myrtle berries from twigs and any residues and let them dry 2-3 days. Fill the container with the berries without pressing them, leaving 2-3 cm from the edge and pour the alcohol to completely cover all the berries. Close well and store in a dark place to macerate for 40-50 days. Every week check the alcohol level: if it does not cover all the berries, you'll have to add a little bit of it. After the period of maceration, pour the myrtle extract into another container using a colander, useful both for making a first filtration and for draining the berries from the liquid essence. Put the macerated berries aside in a container. Now you have to make the syrup of water and sugar, then in a saucepan put the cold water and pour the sugar mixing well. We recommend 1.5 liters of water, but it depends on the gradation you want to obtain and the same goes for sugar, depending on the sweetness you want. Put on the heat, stir well, leave to boil for about 10 minutes and then let cool. Now you can mix the syrup with myrtle extract: mix well, keep in the dark for at least 15 days, stirring every 3-4 days to mix well, then you can pour into bottles.
Main photo: www.ricettedisardegna.it