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Should You Try Alpestre Liqueur – a Potent Italian Herbal Tipple?

While browsing the endless delights on offer at my local Eataly store here in Milan, I came across Alpestre. It was a little pricey at around €20 for a bottle but when I saw it had been aged for 10 years, I decided to splash out on this digestive liqueur. Here then, is a mini-review of this intriguing tipple.

Alpestre is a rather potent brew which to me has the perfume of sage. Well, seeing as there are no less than 34 herbs in Alpestre, it was probable that sage might have been one of them. And indeed it was along with, take a deep breath: thyme, absinthe, lavender, angelica, fennel, tansy, mint, balm, hyssop, lemon balm and camomile – and that’s only twelve of the thirty four!

Aside from the long list of herbs and the alcohol, there’s no sugar or any other additives. The addition of thirty four herbs was probably more than enough “additives” anyway.

Before I came across Alpestre at Eataly I’d never heard of it before although I’ve since learnt it’s been around for 150 years.

Alpestre drink

What Does Alpestre Taste Like?

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It’s a strange brew – very herby and seriously alcoholic too. The unkind may may comment it tastes a little like disinfectant and it would not surprise me to learn that Alpestre is capable of killing all known germs and quite a number of unknown ones too.

I’ve always liked herbs and sage is one of may favourites, so I quite like it. Others may not and I imagine Alpestre is something of an acquired taste. As with grappa, you may need to taste it several times before you acquire a taste for it. In the name of inspiration and accuracy [hic], I was sipping Alpestre while I wrote this. Such are the sacrifices I’m called to make.

Verdict? Try it – you might like it. I tend to end up drinking more the one glass at a time. The flavour is fascinating and makes it strangely moorish.

There’s also a 30 year old blend of Alpestre. Visit the Alpestre website for more information – you may also like to pay a visit to where Alpestre is distilled too. Just do not drive after drinking it!

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