After a meal in Italy, it’s very common to linger over a small glass of liqueur, called a “digestivo.” As the name implies, the alleged benefit is to aid digestion. More likely, the practice is to prolong the pleasure of dining with family or friends.
There are many Italian digestivos, some bitter with herbs and some sweet with fruit. Sardinia’s own digestivo is called Mirto, made from myrtle berries.
Mirto is a common flowering shrub in Sardinia. It produces tart, fragrant berries, which are distilled into our version of moonshine. Exploding with flavor, Mirto is strong and should be consumed with caution. Every Sardinian discovers this at one point or another growing up.
There are two types of Mirto. The first is Mirto Bianco, produced with unripe, white berries or young leaves. The other, more common, is Mirto Rosso, the sweeter variety that’s made from ripe berries.
Myrtle plants and berries have been used in various ways since ancient times by Romans and Greeks. Used as an ornament as well as an ointment to perfume the body, they were made into liqueur in Sardinia and served chilled at the end of a meal. If you happen to find yourself dining out in Sardinia – or at Arco Cafe – don’t be surprised if someone asks you if you would like a Mirto to complete your meal.
Nutritional Value of Mirto
This native Sardinian liqueur is made from myrtle berries, which have long been used for healing and looking since before Medieval Times. Traditionally, the plant is made into tea or extracted as an essential oil for skin health. There are several other health benefits of myrtle.
Studies suggest that myrtle has antibacterial properties, which means it could help prevent the growth of certain bacteria – listeria species, salmonella species, escherichia coli, bacillus subtilis, and staphylococcus aureus. Furthermore, it is commonly used for its antiseptic properties, making it a go-to for wound care in ancient times. Myrtle also contains high levels of antioxidants and tannins that may work well to reduce skin irritation and clear acne.
Popular Items with Mirto
Arco Cafe is the place to go to experience Mirto in New York City. Our Sardinian menu offers Mirto di Sardegna on its own as well as cocktails made with Mirto. Mirto’s Revenge is made with mirto, whiskey, ginger beer, and time. For something fruity, try the Berry Sparkler, made with prosecco, mirto, orange juice, and cranberry juice. Or you can have the Sardinian Sunrise, which has tequila, mirto, orange juice, and grenadine. For guidance, simply tell one of our servers your preference and ask them for a recommendation.
Why Choose Arco Cafe?
Authentic Sardinian Italian cuisine is hard to come by, but Arco Cafe is proud to be the premier provider on New York City’s Upper West Side. We are open 7 days a week, always ready to satisfy your craving for Sardinian Italian food whenever it strikes. Alternatively, we are also available for delivery. Every dish is made to order, so you’ll enjoy it hot and fresh. In addition, we have a rewards program that gives you one point for every dollar spent. Use your points on your next online order or when you dine with us.