Following a 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 Amaro Cora, (the bitters used in the classic Italian cocktail Milano-Torino, Calisaya Liqueur is now handcrafted by two Italian brothers in small batches a small craft distillery in Eugene, Oregon. This sipping spirit can be enjoyed either straight or mixed with other spirits in a wide range of cocktails.
“Calisaya” has quite a storied history. In the year 1600 Jesuit missionaries first "discovered" a plant in Peru that had already been long celebrated by indigenous people for its ability to cure malaria (due to its high quinine content). The Jesuits brought samples of the bitter bark back to Rome where it was mixed with wine, honey, water, and other herbs to render it palatable.
Initially used for medicinal purposes, cinchona calisaya based liqueurs quickly became prized possessions in liquor-cabinets throughout Europe. A drink called Calisaya was already 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 Calisaya's popularity in the New World nearly faded until it was resurrected as Calisaya® Liqueur in 2010.