Elisire di S. Caterina

 

St. Catherine’s elixir is definitely the most mysterious liqueur produced in the territories around Siena.

 

According to the legend, shrouded in mystery, the recipe reached Siena thanks to some Friars who had come back from the Holy Land. Once they arrived in Siena, a city with a huge spice market, the Friars decided to leave the elixir as a present to St. Domenico Church, where Catherine had just entered the ‘Mantellate’ order. 

 

We will never know how much of this is real: but what is certain is that the old recipe is a perfect mix between eastern and western tradition.

 

The success of the product lies in the aura of mystery that surrounds it, even today. For centuries the church has done nothing to promote the elixir that is sold on demand by word of mouth. The elixir thus lives a secret and almost undercover life. 

 

The story becomes clearer just after the Second World War, with the rise of new innovative distilleries.

 

On 22nd August 1947, in St. Domenico Street, 2, Arturo Soldatini established E.S.C.A.

(“St. Catherine’s Elixir”), a firm devoted to the production and trade of refined liqueurs – among which, the elixir itself. That day marks the end of the elixir’s secrecy and the beginning of its current-day production. On 19th October 1952, the CIDA-ESCA firm for the production of liqueurs is born.    

 

The firm rises and falls like its elixir and is active until the early 1980s under different names and partners.

 

With the firm’s closure, the production of the elixir also stops and the elixir is forgotten.

 

Today, thanks to accurate historical research carried out by Bagoga and the Deta distillery from Barberino Val d’Elsa, it is still possible to taste this old liqueur produced according to the original recipe.

 

The liqueur is a successful infusion of herbs and spices with unique aroma and flavour: it combines the sacred and the profane, taking us back to Middle-Age Siena.