Calabrian liqueurs and bitters to try

Everyone's crazy for Calabrian bitter! A sip of history and aromas from the land
Food-Liquore amaro 3[Luca  Fregola]

© Luca Fregola

Food and wine

Calabrian bitter is a product of regional excellence that is now appreciated all over the world.

An unmistakable sign of hospitality and the perfect end to a lunch or dinner with friends, Calabrian bitter is increasingly in demand and also offers discerning palates nuances of taste and aromas of a lush land.

Declined in hundreds of essences, the typical Calabrian bitters encapsulate in their colour and flavour the characteristics of their territories of origin, but also the family history of generations that have always dedicated themselves to the art of distillation and have created real Corporate Museums and companies open for visits.

Let's discover together the main liqueurs and bitters of Calabria and their peculiarities...

Bergamot liqueur

Let's start with a "must" with a truly unmistakable flavour and aroma, the bergamot liqueur. Not a bitter but a real "sweet", either in the form of a cream or a distillate to be served at the end of a meal, accompanying typical Calabrian desserts.

An authentic concentrate of one of the most loved and appreciated Calabrian essences in the world: the Bergamot of Reggio Calabria - Essential Oil PDO

If you want to learn about the history and secrets of the precious "Green Gold of Calabria", you simply must visit the Bergamot Museum in Reggio Calabria, which, through an exhibition of tools, instruments, documents and images, tells the story of processing, including the first crank machine, invented by Barillà from Reggio Calabria.

Where to taste and buy bergamot liqueur? You can find it everywhere, but its territory of origin is the province of Reggio Calabria, in particular the Riviera dei Gelsomini as far as Locride

Liquore bergamotto
Luca Fregola

Liquorice liqueur 

A much-loved Calabrian bitter is the one made from Liquorice of Calabria PDO. Among the typical Calabrian bitters, the liquorice-flavoured bitter (distilled and cream) comes from processing one of the most prized indigenous Mediterranean roots.

To discover all the stages of extraction, processing, bottling and, why not, treat yourself to an irresistible taste, you need to go to the home of Calabrian liquorice, namely the town of Rossano (CS), where the Amarelli family has been producing excellent liquorice for years. Here, you can visit the Giorgio Amarelli Liquorice Museum and buy products directly from the source.

Liquorice, and consequently the Calabrian bitter derived from it, has proven digestive properties and regulates low blood pressure.

Amaro Liquirizia
Luca Fregola

Chilli pepper bitter

Among the most characteristic and original Calabrian bitters, the chilli pepper bitter is a must.

A challenge for the most daring palates, this bitter uses the sovereign spice of the region's agri-food industry, the renowned Calabrian chilli pepper.

Calabrian chilli pepper bitter, contrary to what one might imagine, is an effective digestive, perfect to end a typical lunch or dinner on a spicy note.

If you want to find out all about chilli peppers and the bitter that amplifies their properties, you can visit Diamante (CS) and the Italian Chilli Pepper Academy, perhaps on the occasion of the Peperoncino Festival, and the Chilli Pepper Museum, in the nearby municipality of Maierà.

Regione Calabria

Other typical Calabrian bitters

Our tour among the bitters of Calabria can only suggest a few "musts", now world-famous and multi-award-winning, specific expressions of the territories.

Are you all thinking of the Calabrian bitter produced in Capo Vaticano (VV) and named after that "Capo"? You are on the right track, but not only! 

Another award-winning bitter of Calabria (no less than "Best Bitter in the World" 2019) comes from the Vecchio Magazzino Doganale in the locality of Ziribba, between Montalto Uffugo and Torano (CS), and its name is a tribute to Captain Jefferson, whom legend has it escaped a shipwreck by landing on the very banks of the Crati river in 1871.

Classic among classics, the Calabrian bitter that in its name declares its Sila origin and the Sila National Park contains the most precious herbaceous essences, a must-try!

Last but not least, have you ever heard of the typical Calabrian bitters from the Grecanica area? These are the unmissable bitters produced in Bovesia, the area with a Greek ethnolinguistic minority, which in the glass release unmistakable essences of laurel, liquorice, artemisia and Mediterranean herbs from the Ionian coast.

Are you a lover of home-made spirits? Calabria is the right land to taste them!

There is no native of Calabria who does not have a bottle of homemade limoncello, finocchietto, fragolino and nocino to offer to friends, especially those who come from far away.

Many of these spirits are now PAT (Traditional Food Product) branded products, also protected by the "slow" circuits.

Ultimo aggiornamento: Jun 4, 2024 3:56 PM