Elixir d’Anvers: The golden-yellow nectar
Liqueurs that taste delicious as well as aiding digestion? They do exist, and Elixir d'Anvers is one of them. This highly aromatic distillate of 32 herbs and spices has been captivating people since as far back as 1863.
On 19 March 1863, the founding father of the family business, François-Xavier de Beukelaer, put the finishing touches to a drink that was intended to be not only delicious, but also beneficial for the body and mind. He was no stranger to this idea thanks to his background in medicine and pharmacy. Soon it was raining medals and sales skyrocketed. The elixir even received an award from Louis Pasteur.
The basis of the drink is pure alcohol and a mixture of spices, including cinnamon, saffron, star anise ... and others which remain a secret family recipe. They are placed in a distillation pot before the pure alcohol is added. Once the ingredients have steeped for 24 hours, the kettle is heated and the alcoholic vapours rise together with all the flavours. This distillate is mixed with pure alcohol, soft water and sugar. Several months of ageing in old oak barrels lend the elixir its fine rounded flavour. Elixir d'Anvers is recognisable by its octagonal bottle with a label in the Belgian tricolour and bearing the name François-Xavier de Beukelaer and the provincial coat of arms.
Recommended for apathetic women, stressed-out men, sluggish horses and, in the 1920s, for Babar the elephant in Antwerp Zoo. Vets were at their wits' end with him, but the fact is that after three bottles he was back to his old self again. So, if you're feeling a little under the weather ...