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a bright red liqueur

Originally made by the Arabs in Sicily, alchermes traditionally gets its colour from ground cochineal beetles. Today it is mostly used as an ingredient in desserts.

In the 8th century, confectio alchermes was a popular remedy for heart palpitations, and included raw silk, apple juice, ground pearls, musk, ambergris, gold leaf, rose water, cinnamon, sugar and honey.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Shabbychef, Creative Commons License