The Vignale company has produced the S. Maria Amaro since 1911, but the recipe goes back generations before that. It was first created by the monks of the Santa Maria monastery near Florence. In the last half of the 18th century, the monks donated the recipe to the Duke of Aosta as a show of loyalty. In 1911, Mr. Vignale purchased the recipe and began producing it for the Ligurian region. The ingredients are 100% natural with absolutely no artificial flavors or colors. Each herb, root, and plant is macerated by hand to prevent heating by mechanized processing. (Any type of heating, during maceration or infusion, will result in evaporation of the essential oils and limit the potential complexity of flavor.) Once the infusion is filtered it is allowed to age for a long period of time to ensure mellowness and integration of flavors. Some of the ingredients used are Chinese rhubarb, China root, gentian root, orange peel, angelica, juniper, muscat nut, saffron, plus many more. This is a truly exceptional after-dinner drink and highly versatile cocktail component.
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