Riga Black Balsam Original 40ml
Country of origin: Latvia Alcohol content: 45% ABV
Riga Black Balsam is one of the oldest bitter brands in the world, with a history of craftmanship dating back over 260 years. Riga's bitter liqueur is created by combining 24 natural ingredients, including 17 botanicals; herbs, roots, berries, fruit juices, honey, burnt sugar and some more unique ingredients, like golden withy, and Peruvian balsamic oil. Also included are common roots and herbs such as valerian, wormwood, gentian, black pepper, and ginger.
In the crafting process, Riga uses their unique single-barrel infusion technology. Botanicals are infused in a spirit-water mix to create what they call “Riga Black Balsam essence”. After that, the essence is blended with the rest of the ingredients, such as honey, caramel, natural juices, and bottled in natural clay bottles that retain the original unique appeal and preserve the qualities of the drink.
This intensely bitter liqueur balances the initial shock of birch and solvent with a Black Forest cake like array of liquorice baking spice, lime, cherry, raspberry, blossoms, honey, and cacao. Versatile taste, perfect for modern mixology and even cuisine;
Perfect when drunk neat, with coffee, chocolate, or as an intense sweetener in cocktails.
At the end of the 13th century Marco Polo brought the first balsams (herbal extracts) to Europe from his quests to China. From the 13th—17th centuries via Hanseatic League, balsams became known across Europe and Russia owing to European merchants.
A pharmacist named Kunze crafted the famous Riga Black Balsam recipe in 1752. First balsam (herbal extract) recipes in Riga were found from the 16th century, however pharmacists’ records do not keep the exact date. Riga pharmacist Kunze was accused in press of “borrowing his recipe” from the records above in 1737. In 1752 Kunze produced his famous drink already at industrial volumes.
Since 1845, the major producer is Albert Wolfschmidt.
According to the tradition only the Head Liquor Master and his two apprentices know the secret recipe. The recipe was utterly lost in 1939 when German population left Latvia before Soviet occupation. After the WWII in 5 years the recipe was carefully restored from shreds by joint effort of former employees. Since then the recipe is unchangeable.