Sardinia’s people are so friendly that it is hard to speak with someone for more than 10 minutes and not be invited for a drink. Especially if you choose small towns and remote villages – which I strongly recommend you do.
And if you happen to meet a local friend after dinner or the owner of the restaurant really liked you, you will receive a small shot glass of ‘mirto’ on your table. Usually, mirto is sipped after dinner, as a digestif (digestive aid), in small glasses, well cooled.
What is mirto?
Mirto is a popular liqueur on the island of Sardinia and its neighbor Corsica. It is produced from the berries and the leaves of the myrtle plant, which grows freely on the island. The plant is left to soak in pure alcohol for 2-6 weeks.
There are two types of mirto. Mirto rosso (red mirto, produced from the myrtle berries) and mirto bianco (white mirto, produced from the leaves). They taste quite different so it’s better to try them both and decide which one you like more. Actually, the best thing is to taste homemade mirto, produced by a Sardinian. The easiest way is to stay in an agriturismo and ask the owners.
When to have a glass of mirto?
Usually mirto is sipped after dinner, as a digestif (digestive aid), in small glasses, well cooled. Preferably while watching the sunset and talking about la bella vita. At least this is the locals advice. And who are you to go against the wisdom of the locals? We suspect that the real digestive aid comes from the sweet time spent with friends, not really from the drink itself.
If you discover and fall in love with mirto on Sardinia, don’t forget to take a bottle home, as it is hard to find abroad, even on the Italian mainland.
Since ancient times the myrtle plant has been well known for its medicinal properties so don’t hesitate to take some mirto as a preventive healthcare.
And if you are seriously in love with mirto, visit its festival – held every year in mid-August in the small town of Telti near Olbia.