From trench distillates to modern camouflage bottles, passing through the inevitable Alpine grappa: what to choose for a toast by soldiers on the occasion of Republic Day
On Via dei Fori Imperiali the stands have already appeared, the Frecce Tricolori have started the tests: all the signs that June 2, the Italian Republic Day, is approaching. For Rome it is the day of the parade of the Armed Forces, which culminates precisely with the spectacular passage of the acrobratic patrol of the Frecce Tricolori on the Vittoriano. Together with the parade of the Alpine troops that recently flooded the streets of Milan, June 2 is the occasion to tickle a curiosity: do the liquors of the armed forces still exist? From the stainless grappa of the Alpine to the ever-present cordial, the answer is yes, but many things have evidently changed also in the tastes of the soldiers, with more petty and less trench proposals.
From Cordiale to Cordialcioc
The official reference of the Armed Forces is the Florence Military Pharmaceutical Chemical Establishment, born in 1832. If its main activity is in the production of drugs, however it has always been engaged in the distillation of soldiers' liquors, starting from the mythical cordial. The Enocordial is its flagship product, or a brandy aged at least three years in oak barrels. Then there are the grappa, the Amaro delle Alpi and the Aninolo, or an aniseed distillate. The Elixir of China is particularly interesting, obtained through the cold extraction of cinchona bark and bitter orange peel, then aged for at least one year in oak barrels according to the historical recipe found in the Military Pharmacopoeia of 1877. And, again, the more ruffian versions of the cordial wine mentioned, from Cordialcioc, with pure extra-dark chocolate, to Cherry Cordial, flavored with cherries.
The camouflage bottles
A cordial, or rather another brandy aged three years, softened with DOP buffalo milk, is instead the proposal of the ancient Petrone distillery, complete with a mimetic bottle and a name that cannot be more evocative: the name “Esercito” appears on the label 1659 ", where 1659 stands for the year in which the regiment" of the guards "was born, or the date of birth of the Army, which granted the mark to the bell distillery. In the presentation we read that the original distillate, Cordiale 15 18 (where obviously the numbers stand for the beginning and end of the Great War) was "a must in the history of the Armed Forces of Italy, was a loving companion of the soldiers in the long winter nights .
The Alpine grappa
That the Alpini are big drinkers and that their parties are very alcoholic is not a mystery, although still very civilized (see the images of the post-parade Milan, cleaner than before the event). That said, there are several distilleries that compete for the reference grappa palm, even though only one can boast the official brand: it is the South Tyrolean distillery Psenner which produces the Grappa of the Alpino, complete with a soldier on the label. It is a grappa barricaded at 40 °, obtained by distillation with continuous and discontinuous method in bain-marie stills using exclusively pomace from South Tyrol. For those who prefer white grappa, there is the Grappa Trentina of the Cappelletti Distillery, which also bears the characteristic hat with the pen on the label. On the Lombard side, instead, in Mapello, in the province of Bergamo, there is the Locatelli Distillery, with its "free-range distillate, strong, consumed for more than a hundred years in the whole of Bergamo".