The world’s only remaining Italian Ferro-China Amaro, created in Rome in 1894 by Dr. Ernesto Baliva.
Ferro-China Baliva is a traditional Italian Ferro-China Amaro – and a very versatile cocktail ingredient too.
Amaros are traditional bitter aperitif or digestive liquors, however Ferro-China Amaros are their own sub-category; they are China Amaros (Amaros that
contain cinchona bark, from which quinine is made) as well as iron citrate (hence the “Ferro”).
Ferro-China Baliva is the only Italian Ferro-China brand left in the world. It is gluten-free and hand-made according to an 1894 recipe, in small
batches at a distillery in Rome, with no artificial ingredients.
Ferro-China was considered a miraculous health tonic with digestive properties, a supplement for blood, and a cure for malaria. In fact, back in the
day, Italian mothers used to give their children whipped egg yolks mixed with Ferro-China, or a spoonful of Ferro-China together with a cube of sugar,
each day, to build them up. The belief was that the iron diluted in alcohol was better absorbed by the body, and the quinine content of cinchona bark
guarded against malaria.
In 1894, Ernesto Baliva, a doctor at the hospital of Rome, developed his own recipe for Ferro-China and sold his Ferro-China Baliva through the Roman
pharmacies. It was exported around the world, and was even sold (legally – as “medicine”) in the US during Prohibition.