More Strega Cocktails

"Liquore Strega," also known simply as "Strega," is the famous yellow Italian herbal liqueur made from a secret recipe using saffron and about 70 other herbs and spices. A complex liqueur, it has a strong liquorice flavor, most likely coming from fennel or anise. Liquore Strega has been produced since 1860 by the S. A. Distilleria Liquore Strega in Benevento, Campania, Italy. (Strega is literally the Italian word for "witch.")

One version of the history is Giuseppe Alberti allegedly got the secret recipe in 1860 from some monks around Benevento, Campania who made this liquor as a healing elixer. Alternatively, it is said Alberti adapted the recipe from the infamous stregas of Benevento. In either case, Giuseppe Alberti named the drink, "Liquore Strega."

Giuseppe Alberti was a wine merchant residing in the province of Caserta. He moved to Benevento, which has an ancient legend naming it as a meeting place of "witches." Legends linking the town of Benevento with the stregas, witchcraft, and magic date back to the time of the Lombard invasion.

In 1860, the town was an important railway center. Giuseppe Alberti decided to rent a deposit and start selling and exporting to France wine produced in the Apulia Region. With his father Carmine Vincenzo Alberti, Giuseppe Alberti worked on the mixture which was eventually sold as "Liquore Strega."

Marina Melchionda interviewed Carmine Savarese, who is decended from Giuseppe Alberti. According to Savarese, there are several different legends surrounding the liqueur's creation:

The most famous, the one handed down from a generation to the other of the family, tells about the encounter of Carmine and Giuseppe with a group of witches who were doing the Sabba in the woods near Benevento. The two were walking around searching for spices for their elixirs, when all of the sudden thunder and lightening started, and a branch fell from a tree hitting one of the witches. Since they saved her, the others decided to give the two men a gift: the recipe of a special elixir that could not be divulged, nor to the other members of the family, nor to anybody else: only when its keeper would be close to death, could he give it to his closest heir, the one who would take over its production.

Today we still follow this "dictate" as only the head of the labourers (whose father and grandfather also worked with us), and only one member of our family knows the exact composition of the liqueur. Only the two of them are authorized to enter the "room of the herbs", where all the spices and herbs that compose the Strega liqueur are kept in encrypted draws that only they are able to decode. They go there once a month to get the different doses of herbs to prepare our distillate.

This liqueur is used in cocktails, but Strega can also be used flavor fruit salad, ice cream, and as ingredient in cake, torta caprese.

Strega is often enjoyed straight after a meal. However, here are some recipies from the back of a Strega Liqueur box.

Sea Witch Serve cold with a slice of lemon.


Serve chilled and garnish with a slice of orange.

Strega Tropic

Shake with ice and strain into a tall glass.

Strega con ghiaccio, or Strega Ghiaccio

Strega is considered a "digestivo" to be imbibed after a meal and is commonly served over ice. [A digestivo is served after dinner to complete a meal and aid digestion.]

Frozen Strega

Place a bottle of Strega in the freezer for at least 12 hours. Serve in vodka glass.

Strega Pink Witch

Shake with ice and strain into a tall glass.
Here's two final cocktails using Strega Liqueur, but the recipes didn't come off the back of the box.
Witch of Venice In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine all of the ingredients. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Bruja Mexicana

Blend the Strega and the tequila with crushed ice. Moisten the rim of a collins glass with lemon and frost with sugar. Add a little sugar syrup and fill with soda.
copyright October 2011 Myth Woodling

Kate Hopkins, Tasting Notes: Liquore Strega,, 10/18/06, accessed 10/9/11.

Marina Melchionda, Tastebook Herbs, Spices & Magic. Strega Bewitches New York after 150 Years, April 14, 2010.

Cool Witch Cocktail

Strega Coffee


Two Beneventos

The Walnut Tree

Aradia Home Index