Rupes: a 100% Calabrian story


15 maggio 2024

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An award-winning amaro popular around the world, a fascinating and epic story, a recipe that has been handed down for four generations - today we'll be talking about Rupes together with marketing manager Anselmo Scaramuzzino.

The legend of amaro Rupes began in the first half of the 19th century, at the foot of the famous Rock of Roccella Ionica, Calabria. Here, young merchant Vincenzo Errigo is waiting for night to come to secretly distill the medicinal herbs and aromatic roots he collects around the area, according to a recipe handed down by his mother.

It's in this remote place, formerly known as Anphisia, that Vincenzo meets Pietro, a young lawyer who is meeting with a group of intellectuals - the forerunners of the Carbonari - a short distance from Vincenzo’s illegal distillery. Vincenzo offers the young men a taste of his infusion and, as they raise their toasts to freedom and the homeland, he hears Pietro call his liqueur ‘Rupes’ in honor of the rock in front of them.

However, these are troubled times, and Pietro and his comrades are soon arrested and executed. Frightened, Vincenzo stops producing his amaro as it reminds him of the whole incident. It's only on his deathbed that he reveals the story to his son, leaving him the recipe and asking him to pass it on, keeping the secret about what happened for a century.

That same recipe, handed down for four generations and today in the keeping of a well-established Italian distillery active for 75 years, has come down to us after almost two centuries as an amaro digestivo with an intense flavor that's now a favorite around the world - a simple yet complex product like the land where it originated.

As Rupes marketing manager Anselmo Scaramuzzino explains, 

"Rupes's balanced, sweet, intense taste brings an ancient family tradition back to life after almost two centuries. Through the generations, this tradition has preserved a recipe and a legend that speak of simplicity, refinement, determination as well as of the great deeds of the men who contributed to the Italian Risorgimento.

After the Unification of Italy, the well-known Questione Meridionale (the Southern Issue) came to the fore. A frozen economy caused business in our country to grow at two different speeds. Fortunately, this prevented our countryside from being contaminated by heavy industries and we still have clean, healthy air, fertile soil and sunshine. This makes our agricultural products high-quality. After more than a century and a half, Calabria's economy is finally recovering and the bitter industry is proving a driving force not just for Calabrian-made, but all Italian-made products around the world."

Amaro Rupes is produced using the traditional cold method, which involves infusing high-quality medicinal herbs in alcohol in large steel vats for at least 20 days.

Raw ingredients play a key role.

"We pick and select botanicals growing wild and uncontaminated," says Scaramuzzino. "The sun does the rest, making our herbs rich in chlorophyll and beneficial properties. Bergamot, which gave rise to the famous Acqua di Colonia, only grows in the province of Reggio Calabria, our licorice root is synonymous with outstanding quality and our chili pepper is now a widely known specialty. Our raw ingredients are bergamot, wild fennel, lemon, licorice and bitter orange, each carefully selected to offer a truly unique sensory experience."

In addition to the original version, Amaro Rupes comes in three variants:

  • Gold – aged in oak barrels with a predominant orange aroma;
  • Black – a limited edition featuring notes of underbrush, tamarind and licorice;
  • Red – rich in warm bergamot and chili notes.

The amaro was an immediate success and the Errigo family's entrepreneurial history played a key role in promoting this unique artisanal product with the general public. Rupes boasts an impressive list of awards.

"In addition to being a commercial success, our Amaro was assessed by several international expert panels and won the Gold Medal at theWorld Liqueur Awards. In 2020 it was awarded first prize by the international jury of the coveted AmericanAwards 2020, established by the America Wines Paper. In 2021, the Gold version was named Best Italian Herbal by the World's Best Herbal Awards, also winning the Silver Medal for packaging. Other awards include the Silver Medal for Rupes Black Edition at the Spirits Selection by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles in December 2022, Bronze Medal for Rupes Red in 2022, Silver Medal for Crema di Rupes White at the World Liqueur Awards 2022, Gold Medal at the World Grappa Awards and Gold Medal and World'sBest Italian Botanical Gin atthe World Gin Awards 2023. The latest prize came in 2024 when our Amaro Nazionale Deciso was awarded the Golden Flask by the prestigious Spirito Autoctono awards. It was really amazing to receive so many awards in just four years. In truth we are not surprised, as these accolades are the result of our daily commitment to professionalism and quality, as well as to a land that makes us proud of our cultural identity, confident in facing the present and, most of all, propels us into an exciting future."

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And there's more besides Rupes: Gin Principum is also proving a success with the public.

"This gin is made by distilling wheat and barley in copper stills using the batch distillation method and cutting the heads and tails. The traditional production method, experience of our master distiller and a meticulous distillation process ensure the quality of our spirit, made by macerating organic juniper berries, Calabrian bergamot and Locride chili pepper for 4 months."

The goal for the future is simple: "Rediscover the importance of quality drinking."

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