Myrtle (Latin: Myrtus communis; Arabic: Hemblass) also called True Myrtle, is a shrub common to the Mediterranean region and which was considered as one of the symbols of Venus, representing love and immortality. Myrtle berries have always been an ingredient in the kitchen of many Mediterranean countries, used to flavor soups, stews, meat and chicken. Leaves and berries are also known for their medicinal properties as an astringent, an antiseptic, and a decongestant. Myrtle berries come in white and blue colors according to the variety. A liqueur is traditionally prepared from myrtle berries collected late autumn – early winter.
In Lebanon, myrtle is found in coastal cities, as garden hedges, and used to be a great part of the landscape, but is fading away gradually.
Total servings: 3 liters of liqueur
1 Kg of myrtle
1 L of 95° alcohol (you can use a good vodka if alcohol is not available)
1 L of water
500 g of sugar.
- Wash the berries thoroughly with water
- Place in a glass jar, add the alcohol, seal and let infuse for 30 days in a dark place
- After 30 days, press the berries to extract the maximum of flavor and alcohol, then drain the berries and collect the alcohol
- Prepare syrup using the water and sugar. Let cool and then add to the liqueur
- Place in bottles and let stand for a week
- Myrtle liqueur can be served chilled or at room temperature. It makes an excellent digestive
When it comes to consuming alcohol, the key is moderation*! We all know the dangers of an excessive alcohol intake, however moderate drinking can have certain health benefits such as: increasing the levels of good cholesterol (HDL); and lowering the chance of diabetes and heart disease. If you drink, keep it moderate! Cheers.
*Up to 1 drink per day for women; up to 2 drinks per day for men