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The best herbal liqueur in the world Americans liked

22 Maggio 2020

“Tre premi così importanti e autorevoli quelli ricevuti dal World Liqueur Awards che ci riempiono d’immensa gioia e soddisfazione – afferma Realino Mazzotta, creatore di Amaro Salento – non solo perché i prodotti sono realizzati e imbottigliati artigianalmente da noi in Puglia (a Veglie, in provincia di Lecce) ma perché essi stessi sono espressione di tutte le ricchezze del nostro territorio”. Realino Mazzotta ha cercato di creare una sinfonia di profumi, odori, sapori, cercando di armonizzare le “vibrazioni” di 45 vegetali: erbe e radici, fiori, rizomi, semi, cortecce, scorze.

La sua ricerca nasce appunto dal ricordo di bambino del padre Raffaele che negli anni ’40, prima della II guerra mondiale, fonda il bar Venezia a Veglie, in provincia di Lecce, pur continuando a realizzare da bravo artigiano, mobili e manufatti di pregio nella bottega del nonno Luigi. Con una ricetta probabilmente di poche erbe andata perduta, suggerita da un monaco questuante del vicino convento dei frati minori conventuali di San Giuseppe da Copertino, papà Raffaele produce un liquore amaro che utilizzava sopratutto per allungare il caffè, trasformandolo in caffè  “corretto”, molto amato dai tanti soldati americani che se ne andavano in giro per il paese dopo la Liberazione; gli alleati d’oltreoceano bevevano il caffè nel bicchiere, com’era loro consuetudine, allungato con quell’”Amaro di San Giuseppe da Copertino”, come usavano dire.

Il Santo è venerato dagli aviatori cattolici statunitensi che lo considerano loro protettore, ed a San Giuseppe è legata anche l’importante città americana di Cupertino. Il frate suggerisce a qualche titolare di esercizio pubblico, quindi, compreso il bar Venezia, di realizzare un liquore con poche erbe che avrebbe trovato facilmente ma ad una condizione: ogni cliente che avrebbe bevuto il caffè “corretto” con quel liquore d’erbe, avrebbe dovuto soffermarsi e riflettere su un proprio difetto per correggerlo, allo scopo di purificarsi nel corpo e nell’anima! Una ricetta purtroppo andata perduta in quanto il padre morirà giovane, quando Realino aveva solo tredici anni. Comincia forse da quel momento un’indagine lenta ma continua per ritrovare un legame, un contatto spirituale col padre coltivando la stessa passione del genitore, andando per i campi e lungo la costa ionica per raccogliere le più disparate e rare erbe. La ricerca si riversa negli anni anche nelle biblioteche, attraverso una meticolosa selezione di manoscritti e antichi manuali che facevano riferimento ad alcune ” … Herbe amarissime…”  (1767, Vita di San Giuseppe da Copertino – Domenico Bernino) che il Santo utilizzava durante i digiuni penitenziali, erbe non solo menzionate in alcune opere apologetiche sulla vita del Santo dei voli ma anche in alcuni codici del cinquecento. È l’inizio di una bellissima avventura che porterà il maestro a modellare un pentagramma di suoni e vibrazioni di vegetali. Prende pian piano forma un elisir dopo anni di alchimie, pareri, consulenze, degustazioni. Realino termina nel 2013 quella che considera “la mia più bella opera musicale”.

Nasce nel 2014 Amaro Salento Classico e dopo un anno l’Amarissimo realizzati con oltre 45 vegetali tra erbe, radici, rizomi, semi, fiori, scorze e cortecce; segue un limoncello naturale, fatto di macerazione di scorze di limoni di prima scelta. Attualmente il figlio di Realino, Francesco, anche lui musicista, è divenuto un ottimo mastro distillatore di scuola inglese che ha creato recentemente, con l’ausilio di un tradizionale alambicco in rame, tre versioni del Duna Gin utilizzando anche le pregiate bacche del tipico Ginepro coccolone che ricopre le splendide dune del Salento.

The best herbal liqueur in the world
Americans liked

Prestigious triple prize of the World Liqueur Awards to the two Italian bottles of Amaro Salento
in the Premium Classico and Premium Amarissimo versions. The Classic as Best Herbal Liqueur
of Italy (Best Italian HERBAL) and Best Herbal Liqueur of the World (World’s Best HERBAL);
the Amarissimo awarded with a gold medal (GOLD).
“These three important and authoritative awards received by the World Liqueur Awards gave us
a great joy and satisfaction – says Realino Mazzotta, owner of Amaro Salento – not only because
the products are handcrafted and bottled by us in Puglia (in Veglie, in the province of Lecce) but
because they are also expression of all the beauty and richness of our territory “. Conductor,
composer, cellist and music therapist, Realino Mazzotta has tried to create a symphony of
perfumes, smells, flavors, by harmonizing the “vibrations” of 45 plants: herbs and roots, flowers,
rhizomes, seeds, bark, peel.
After a live television concert on Canale 5 of Mediaset, Realino Mazzotta, in the role of
composer and conductor, told to Elisa Springer (writer who survived the Nazi death camps, with
whom he cooperated for another important music event) that he was working on his most
important “musical work”: the best herbal liqueur the world had ever known!
His research was born from the childhood memory of his father Raffaele who, in the 1940s,
before the Second World War, founded the Venezia bar in Veglie, near Lecce, while continuing

to create fine furniture and craftsmanship in the workshop of his grandfather Luigi. With a recipe
probably of few lost herbs, offered by a beggar monk of the nearby convent of the conventual
friars of San Giuseppe da Copertino, Raffaele produces a bitter liqueur using it as a thinner in
the coffee, generally said “corrected coffee”; it was really appreciated by the American soldiers
who went around the country after the Liberation from the Germans; the overseas allies used to
drink coffee in the glass, with the addition of “Amaro di San Giuseppe da Copertino”. The Saint
is revered by the American Catholic aviators who consider him their protector, and the important
American city of Cupertino is also linked to San Giuseppe. The friar gave his father the recipe
but on one condition: each customer who would have drunk the coffee with the addition of
Amaro, would have had to dwell and reflect on himself in order to purify his body and soul! A
recipe unfortunately lost since the father died young, when Realino was only thirteen. Probably
since then Mr Realino started a slow and constant research to find a bond, a spiritual contact with
his father by cultivating his same passion, by going through the fields and along the Ionian coast
to collect the most various and rare botanicals. This research, as suggested by his uncle priest
(also named Don Realino Mazzotta) becomes, over the years, a meticulous selection of
manuscripts and ancient manuals that referred to some… very bitter herbs… (1767, Vita di San
Giuseppe da Copertino – Domenico Bernino) that the Saint used during penitential fasts, herbs
mentioned in some apologetic works on the life of the Saint of flights as well as in some rare
sixteenth century codes. It’s the beginning of a beautiful adventure that will lead the master to
model a pentagram of plant sounds and vibrations. After years of alchemy, opinions, consultancy
and tastings an elixir is slowly created. Realino finished in 2013 what he considers “his most
beautiful musical work”. Amaro Salento Classico was born in 2014, after a year Amarissimo
made with over 45 botanicals including herbs, roots, rhizomes, seeds, flowers, peel and bark; and
soon after a natural limoncello, made of maceration of selected lemon peel. Currently Realino’s
son Francesco, a musician too, has become an excellent master distiller following the English
style and producing, with the help of a traditional copper alembic, three versions of the Duna Gin
by using also the precious berries of Juniper “Coccolone” typical of the beautiful dunes of
Salento.
“Among the botanicals of the Amaro Salento there are china, gentian, bitter and sweet orange,
wormwood in the Roman, pontic and gentle varieties, chamomile, colombo, quassium, aloe vera,
calamus, rue, elderberry, fennel, angelica, sandalwood, tonka bean, cinnamon, cloves, clary sage,
nutmeg, oregano, thyme, basil, coriander, cardamom and other wild, medicinal and aromatic
plants “.
The prize won at the end of April at the World Liqueur Awards is included in the World Drinks
Awards, one of the most famous international competitions that every year rewards the best
products among liquors, divided into 17 different categories. Hundreds of products are tasted by
a blind tasting composed by a pool of international expert judges.
Another important recognition to the Amaro Salento was achieved when Franca Sozzani,
“Fashion expert” who managed Convivio in Milan in 2016 (the most important Italian charity
exhibition-market, conceived since 1992 by Versace, Armani, Valentino and Ferré) chose Amaro

Salento among the most prestigious brands to join High Fashion ones.
http://www.conviviomilano.it/pages/category/brand-2/
In 2019 also Matteo Zed, one of the most famous mixology in the world, in his book about
Amaro, considers Amaro Salento as an icon of Italian Amaro calling it “real Amaro”.
Around the middle of the last century, the home production of various liqueurs and rosoli was
very common in Salento, when the purchase of spirits was an unknown practice. In some bars it
was possible to taste some bitter liqueurs handcrafted from the infusion of indigenous herbs and
roots, used above allas a thinner in the coffee.
The current secret recipes of the two Amaro are the result of ancient styles typical of the most
genuine Salento tradition, accurately created and improved , in order to achieve balanced and
harmonious elixirs.
Amaro Salento Classico is ideal to serve very cold and Amarissimo at room temperature, on
the rocks or mixed to cocktails.

 

 

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