Alpe Genepy Herbetet Liqueur
The best liqueurs in Italy are inspired by local ingredients. Distilleria Alpe is a small producer of locally-inspired infusions and distillations located in the tiny town of Hône, in the Val d’Aosta, in the far north-west of Italy. They use a range of local herbs, including artemisia (sometimes called wormwood), gentian, gentianella, mint, and others, along with imported bitter herbs like cinchona from South America and Chinese rhubarb root.
Genepy is a traditional local herbal liqueur made in north-western Italy (in Piedmont, and the Val d’Aosta), and on the other side of the border in south-eastern France. Genepy is the local name for a herb called Artemisia, a type of wormwood (two types, actually, both the A. Spicata and A. Mutellina), the same family of plants as Absinthe; ‘Herbetet’ is the name of a high peak in the Gran Paradiso national park, where many of Alpe’s ingredients are gathered. Alpe’s Genepy is made primarily from the named herb, with the addition of a small quantity of other botanical ingredients such as true cinnamon, oregano, lemon balm, and mint. The alpine herbs are picked in August, then dried and all herbs are infused together in pure alcohol for about a month. Part of the infusion is then re-distilled, to give the liqueur a more persistent flavor and to clarify the color. It’s bottled at 38%, after the addition of spring water and sugar. The pale straw color comes naturally from the infusion, no color is added. Genepy is drunk as a digestivo in Italy, and is increasingly being used in craft cocktails, too.