Following the proprietor’s own centuries-old Italian family recipe Calisaya® Liqueur is produced by infusing the bitter Cinchona Calisaya bark with roots, flowers and seville orange extracts in a neutral grain spirit. Conceived as a contemporary version of the classic Amaro Cora, (which are the bitters used in the the classic Italian cocktail the Milano-Torino, Calisaya Liqueur is handcrafted by two Italian brothers in small batches at Elixir, Inc., a small craft distillery in Eugene, Oregon.
Following the proprietor’s own centuries-old Italian family recipe this sipping spirit can be enjoyed either straight or mixed with other spirits in a range of cocktails.
“Calisaya” has quite a storied spiritual history. In the year 1600 Jesuit missionaries in Peru first “discovered” a plant that had already been long celebrated in the New World for its ability to cure malaria (due to its high quinine content). They brought the exquisitely bitter bark back to Rome where it was presently mixed with wine, honey, water, and other herbs in order to render it palatable.
Initially created for medicinal purposes, cinchona calisaya based liqueurs quickly endeared themselves to Europeans and became prized possessions in their liquor-cabinets. Calisaya was quite popular in North America before Prohibition, when the name described any Cinchona Calisaya bark-based spirit. In fact, several classic pre-Prohibition cocktails list Calisaya as an ingredient. After Prohibition, however, Calisaya gradually disappeared until it was reintroduced and reimagined as Calisaya® Liqueur in 2010.