Mirto Drink: A Guide to Sardinia’s Traditional Liqueur

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The Mirto Drink: Sardinia’s Favorite Tipple …Don’t let it topple you!

TL;DR: The Mirto drink is ancient but made from the berries of the myrtle plant and has a bittersweet taste that is both refreshing and complex.

If you’re looking to try a unique and flavorful liqueur, Mirto is a great option. We tried it on our last beach holiday near Olbia and can’t get enough.

Whether you’re interested in learning about the history of this drink, the production process, or just want to know how to serve it, this article will provide you with all the information you need.

mirto drink

Mirto has a rich history that dates back centuries. It has been enjoyed by locals in Sardinia for generations and is now gaining popularity around the world. The production process is a carefully guarded secret, but it involves steeping the berries in alcohol and adding a variety of herbs and spices to create a unique flavor profile.

Depending on the type of Mirto you try, you may notice hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, or other spices. Whether you’re a seasoned drinker or just looking to try something new, Mirto is a great choice that is sure to impress.

Key Takeaways

  • Mirto is a unique and flavorful liqueur made from the berries of the myrtle plant
  • It has a rich history dating back centuries and is gaining popularity around the world
  • The production process is a carefully guarded secret and involves steeping the berries in alcohol and adding a variety of herbs and spices to create a unique flavor profile.

History of Mirto Drink

myrtle plant that mirto comes from
This stuff grows wild everywhere…we found it outside our Aribnb.

Mirto is a traditional Sardinian liqueur that has been around for centuries. The drink is made from the berries of the myrtle plant, which grows abundantly on the island of Sardinia. The myrtle plant has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times, and the berries were often used to make tinctures and teas.

The tradition of making Mirto in Sardinia dates back to at least the 16th century, when it was primarily consumed for its medicinal properties. The drink was made by soaking the berries in alcohol and adding sugar and other ingredients to create a sweet and aromatic liqueur. Over time, the drink became more popular as a digestif and was often served after meals to aid in digestion.

Mirto is now a staple of Sardinian culture and is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. The drink is often served at festivals and celebrations, and many Sardinian families have their own secret recipe for making the liqueur.

There are two types of Mirto: Mirto Rosso, made from the berries of the myrtle plant with black berries, and Mirto Bianco, made from the berries of the myrtle plant with white berries. Both types of Mirto have a distinct flavor and are often served chilled as a digestif.

Today, Mirto is gaining popularity outside of Sardinia, and many distillers are beginning to produce their own versions of the drink. While the traditional recipe for Mirto remains a closely guarded secret, many modern distillers are adding their own twist to the classic recipe, resulting in a variety of unique and delicious Mirto liqueurs.

Production Process

Mirto is a traditional Sardinian liqueur made from the berries of the myrtle plant. It has a unique bittersweet flavor and is often enjoyed as a digestif after a meal. Here is a brief overview of the production process for mirto.

Harvesting Myrtle Berries

The first step in making mirto is to harvest the myrtle berries. The berries are typically picked in late summer or early fall when they are fully ripe. They can be harvested by hand or by using a special machine that shakes the berries off the branches.


Once the myrtle berries have been harvested, they are typically fermented in a large container for several days. During this time, the natural sugars in the berries are converted into alcohol by the yeast that is present on the fruit.


After fermentation, the liquid is distilled to separate the alcohol from the other components of the mixture. This process involves heating the liquid until it vaporizes, then cooling it down so that it condenses back into a liquid. The resulting liquid is then distilled again to increase its alcohol content.

Aging Process

Finally, the mirto is aged in oak barrels for several months to allow the flavors to develop and mellow. The length of the aging process can vary depending on the desired flavor profile of the final product.

Types of Mirto

Mirto is a popular liqueur in the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia, Corsica, and Capraia. It is made from the myrtle plant through the alcoholic maceration of the berries or a compound of berries and leaves. There are two main types of Mirto: Mirto Rosso and Mirto Bianco.

Mirto Rosso

Mirto Rosso, also known as red Mirto, is made by macerating the berries of the myrtle plant. It has a deep red color and a slightly bitter taste. It is usually served as a digestif after a meal, and it is often paired with desserts such as almond cake or Sardinian seadas.

Mirto Bianco

Mirto Bianco, also known as white Mirto, is made by macerating the leaves of the myrtle plant. It has a clear color and a milder taste compared to Mirto Rosso. It is usually served as an aperitif before a meal, and it is often paired with seafood dishes such as grilled octopus or tuna carpaccio.

Both types of Mirto can be enjoyed neat or mixed in cocktails. Mirto Rosso is often used in cocktails that require a bitter liqueur, such as a Negroni or a Boulevardier. Mirto Bianco, on the other hand, is often used in cocktails that require a milder liqueur, such as a Spritz or a Gin and Tonic.

Tasting Notes

When you take a sip of mirto, you’ll immediately notice its complex flavor profile. This Sardinian liqueur has a unique blend of sweet and bitter notes, with a distinct herbal and fruity taste. Here are some tasting notes to help you appreciate the flavors of mirto:

  • Aroma: Mirto has a strong and pleasant aroma, with hints of juniper, myrtle, and other botanicals.
  • Color: This liqueur comes in two varieties – rosso and bianco. Mirto rosso is a deep red color, while mirto bianco is clear or slightly yellow.
  • Taste: When you taste mirto, you’ll experience a range of flavors. The sweet taste of berries is balanced by the bitterness of myrtle leaves, creating a unique taste that’s both refreshing and complex. Some people describe the taste as similar to gin, but with a sweeter finish.
  • Texture: Mirto has a smooth and slightly syrupy texture, with a medium body.
  • Finish: The finish of mirto is long and pleasant, with a lingering taste of berries and herbs.

Overall, mirto is a delightful liqueur that’s perfect for sipping after dinner or enjoying as a cocktail ingredient. Its unique flavor profile and refreshing taste make it a favorite among many Sardinians, and it’s gaining popularity in other parts of the world as well.

Serving Suggestions

Mirto is a versatile drink that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Here are a few serving suggestions to help you get the most out of your Mirto liqueur:

  • Straight Shots: Mirto can be enjoyed straight up as a digestif after a meal. Order mirto rosso for a sweet version of this popular liqueur.
  • Mirto and Tonic: This refreshing cocktail is a great way to enjoy Mirto on a hot summer day. Simply mix Mirto liqueur with tonic water and ice, and garnish with a slice of lemon.
  • Mirto Spritz: For a lighter, more effervescent drink, try a Mirto spritz. Mix Mirto liqueur with prosecco and soda water, and garnish with a slice of orange.
  • Mirto Sour: If you prefer your drinks with a bit of a kick, try a Mirto sour. Mix Mirto liqueur with lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white, and shake with ice. Strain into a glass and garnish with a cherry.
  • Mirto on the Rocks: Sometimes, the simplest drinks are the best. Enjoy Mirto over ice for a classic, refreshing drink.

No matter how you choose to enjoy your Mirto, be sure to savor the sweet, fruity flavor and rich aroma of this beloved Sardinian liqueur.

Health Benefits

Mirto is a popular liqueur in the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia, Corsica, and Capraia. It is made from the myrtle plant through the alcoholic maceration of the berries or a compound of berries and leaves. Here are some potential health benefits of drinking mirto in moderation:

1. Antioxidant properties

Mirto contains high levels of antioxidants that can help protect your body against free radicals, which are harmful molecules that can damage your cells. Antioxidants can help prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.

2. Digestive aid

Mirto can help improve digestion by stimulating stomach acid production, which helps break down food easier. It is often consumed after a meal as a digestive.

3. Low sugar content

Mirto has a low sugar content, making it a better choice than other sweet liqueurs. It can be a healthier option for those who want to enjoy a drink without consuming too much sugar.

4. Potential anti-inflammatory properties

Myrtle berries, one of the main ingredients in mirto, have been found to have potential anti-inflammatory properties. This could help reduce inflammation in the body and prevent chronic diseases.

5. Relaxation

Mirto is often consumed as an after-dinner drink, which can help you relax and unwind after a long day. It can also be enjoyed as an aperitif before a meal to stimulate your appetite.

While mirto may have some potential health benefits, it should be consumed in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a range of health problems, including liver damage, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of certain cancers.

Even though the Sardinia’s seem to live really long, too much Mirto probably isn’t the secret.

Global Availability

Mirto is a beloved drink in Sardinia, but it is also available in other parts of the world. Here’s a breakdown of where you can find mirto:

  • Italy: Mirto is widely available in Italy, particularly in Sardinia. You can find it in most bars and restaurants, as well as in supermarkets and liquor stores.
  • Europe: Mirto is also available in other parts of Europe, including Spain, France, and Germany. However, it may be harder to find outside of Italy and Sardinia.
  • United States: Mirto is available in some specialty liquor stores in the United States. You may also be able to find it at Italian restaurants or online retailers.
  • Other Countries: Mirto may be available in other countries with large Italian populations or specialty liquor stores. However, availability may vary.

When purchasing mirto, it’s important to check the label to ensure that you’re getting an authentic product. Look for mirto that is made in Sardinia and uses myrtle berries grown on the island. Some popular brands of mirto include Argiolas, Tremontis, and Lussurgesi.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mirto liquor made from?

Mirto liquor is made from the berries of the myrtle plant, which is native to the Mediterranean region. The berries are typically harvested in the fall and are then macerated in alcohol along with other herbs and spices. There are two types of Mirto liquor: Mirto Rosso, which is made from the red myrtle berries, and Mirto Bianco, which is made from the white myrtle berries.

What are the health benefits of Mirto?

Myrtle berries are known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reduce the risk of certain diseases. However, it is important to note that Mirto liquor is typically consumed in small amounts and should not be relied upon as a health supplement.

What are some popular cocktails made with Mirto?

Mirto liquor is often enjoyed on its own as a digestif, but it can also be used in cocktails. Some popular cocktails made with Mirto include the Mirto Sour, which combines Mirto liquor, lemon juice, and simple syrup, and the Mirto Spritz, which is made with Mirto liquor, Prosecco, and soda water.

How is Mirto traditionally consumed?

Mirto liquor is traditionally consumed as a digestif after a meal. It is typically served chilled or at room temperature in small glasses. It is also sometimes used as an ingredient in cooking and baking.

What is the history of Mirto?

Mirto liquor has been produced in Sardinia for centuries and is considered to be a traditional Sardinian drink. It is believed to have originated with the ancient Phoenicians, who introduced the myrtle plant to the island. Mirto liquor has since become a symbol of Sardinian culture and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

What distinguishes Mirto from other herbal liqueurs?

Mirto liquor is distinguished by its unique flavor, which is both sweet and bitter, and its distinctive purple color. It is also notable for its use of myrtle berries, which are not commonly used in other herbal liqueurs. Mirto liquor is a true taste of Sardinia and is a must-try for anyone visiting the island.

We hope this Sardinia guide filled with interesting information about the Mirto Drink has helped you plan your visit to this hidden gem in Italy!

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.