Can a liqueur born in the early twentieth century rise again and have a whole new life in 2020? The answer is yes. Thanks to the brilliant idea of Monica Buzio, great-granddaughter of a liquorist and bar manager in Turin in the years from 1910 to 1957
The liquorist in question is Luigi Fassio, passionate about herbs and macerations.
Among the great-grandfather's old memorabilia, Monica also found some notebooks, two old notebooks from 1911 full of original liqueur recipes he created.
From one of these recipes was bornBitter Mentha.
The great-grandfather of Monica Buzio he was a very active person: in 1905 he opened his first bar in San Salvario and after some time he graduated as a liquorist. In 1910 he inaugurated his second bar in Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, next to Palazzo Rossi di Montelera. Lover of billiards, under the bar he creates a large billiard room which, apparently, was the largest billiard room in Italy.
With the liquorist diploma, Fassio could finally produce his liqueurs to be offered to the Turin clientele and every idea and thought was noted in those two famous recipe books.
This is how Monica found herself studying and getting passionate about those notebooks, the 110 recipes including liqueurs, vermouth, rosoli, creams, elixirs of long life. There is even a very rare Coca Elixir, which for 50 liters of product included 500 coca leaves in maceration. An unthinkable recipe for our times.
The alcohol level of the liqueurs, the doses and the percentages of product were very high and it is surprising how they survived by drinking these preparations.
The great grandfather continued to open premises and then sell them when they started to perform well. His fun, his passion, was to design, build, start the business and then sell it once it became profitable. In all the premises he opened in Turin, Luigi Fassio had a personal distillery at his disposal, where he prepared the liqueurs and created recipes.
Two years ago, after studying her great-grandfather's notebooks and recipes for some time, Monica feels that she must follow up on that precious work. So, after careful research, he decides to contact Fulvio Piccinino, one of the top vermouth and liqueur experts in Italy.
Piccinino directs her to Chieri, to the Vermouth Il Reale factory, which still works in an artisanal way. The Aromiere del Reale guarantees that the original recipe and its quality will be maintained during the production of the amaro.
The Amaro Mentha
After some tests and tests to calibrate the product, in 2019 it was born Bitter Mentha.
The high quality of the product, its craftsmanship, prompted Monica not to entrust the sale of the Amaro Mentha to a distributor, but to deal with it personally.
Momentarily abandoning the shoes of the translator, her main activity, Monica Buzio dresses those of the commercial manager of the Amaro Mentha and begins to propose it in the most famous clubs in Turin. And so, not without some difficulty and distrust, Amaro Mentha is now on the menu at the Ristorante del Cambio, in some historic Turin shops such as Latteria Bera and Damarco wine shop and grocery store, in three starred restaurants in Liguria.
At the moment 1000 bottles are produced, but the goal is to reach at least double this year.
A beautiful and positive story of female entrepreneurship, a story that deserves to be told. Monica has revealed to us that there are other fabulous recipes in her thoughts, her homage to a brilliant and unique man who was her great grandfather.
Amaro Mentha 1911 is obtained from alcohol of agricultural origin with the addition of caramel, natural flavors and infusion of different botanicals. In addition to the mint of Piedmontese origin, it is infused with other spices and aromatic herbs, such as, among the most important, aloe, angostura, bitter orange, sweet orange, cinchona, coriander quass, mace and gentian.