Just mention the word Mirto and Sardinia immediately comes to mind. Well yes, this spontaneous plant typical of the low Mediterranean scrub and with an easily guessed presence due to its intense perfume, has made one of the typical popular liqueurs: Sardinian Mirto. The plant is an evergreen belonging to the Myrtaceae family, exactly of the Myrtus genus, and reaches important dimensions. However, both red and white mirto are widespread in popular food, but what are their differences?

Pianta e bacche di Mirto | travelplannerfamily.com mirto rosso o bianco

Sardinian Mirto Red or white?


Sardinia, what a land full of legends and mysteries. Just think that in ancient times mirto was a symbol of femininity and the protagonist of one of the myths is the Greek Myrsine, killed after beating one of her peers in an athletic competition and then transformed by Athena, out of envy, into a mirto shrub. It is for this reason that since then the mirto plant has been used for weaving crowns on the heads of the victors.  For the Romans, however, mirto was connected to the goddess Venus, goddess of beauty, love and fertility: in fact, it was said that the goddess, as soon as she was born from the sea foam, had taken refuge in a mirto grove. It is a plant known since the Middle Ages for its property anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Thanks to its active ingredient and the content of resins and tannins, mirto is also used in the herbal and phytotherapeutic fields as an eudermic tonic, to relieve disorders of the respiratory and digestive systems.


It is known that the mirto is the symbol of Sardinia and is known above all for the purplish-blue liqueur (called Mirto Rosso and amused by the white one) produced by alcoholic infusion of ripe berries, such is the importance of this liqueur for the island to have become a symbol of it and to have obtained in the 1998 the recognition of Traditional Agri-Food Product. As we anticipated, the red mirto liqueur is made with blue-purple or dark red mirto berries, which are the most widespread ones. The preparation is quite simple: the ripe berries are left to macerate in 90° alcohol for about 40 days. After this period, the filtration takes place in which the essence is separated from the alcohol and then water and sugar are added. After about 2 months the famous red myrtle liqueur will be obtained, with an alcohol content of around 30° and a purplish-blue colour. Its taste will be bitterish and astringent, to be enjoyed absolutely frozen after meals, it is our coffee killer.

However, not everyone knows that there is a variety of mirto (always belonging to the same species) with white fruits, called  white mirto o white murta. It is a much rarer type from which, with the same preparation as red myrtle, a light-colored liqueur with a decidedly more delicate flavor than that of red mirto is obtained. Another variant is that of the white mirto prepared by hydroalcoholic induction of the shoots of the plant, in this case a liqueur with a usually light alcohol content will be obtained, also perfect as an aperitif and with a more sour flavor than that of the red mirto but at the same time delicate and equally aromatic.

You just have to test both liqueurs, both red and white mirto. Discover Sardinia, we will guide you through the planning of a tailor-made itinerary.

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