“Licor Cuarenta y Tres” is a bright yellow, sweet Spanish liqueur flavoured with citrus and vanilla. It professes to be made from a combination of 43 ingredients, including citrus and fruit juices, herbs, spices and vanilla. The name comes from the number of ingredients said to be used.
The liqueur is 31% alcohol, 62 proof.
The company is currently owned (2004) by Diego Zamora S.A, Av. de Columbus, 146, Cartagena (MURCIA), Spain.
It can be drunk straight or in mixed drinks.
Used in the mixed drink called “Key Lime Pie” shooters and in “Key Lime Pie” martinis.
Though the usual claims about being made since a vague period in antiquity are made, it is pretty probable that it was developed from liqueur recipes historically typical in Cartagena, Spain in the 1800s, perhaps in the 1700s as well.
What is being sold as “Cuarenta y Tres” has been made since about 1895 in a small distillery in Cartagena, Spain. The distillery was bought by Diego Zamora Conesa, his brother and brother-in-law in 1924. In 1979, the company was named “Diego Zamora S.A”, and it was decided to branch off into activities other than just making the liqueur, such as wines and other fruit-flavoured liqueurs.
Literature & Lore
In talking about the history of the liqueur, the marketing material takes you back to the founding of a colony called “New Carthage” by the Carthaginians, before Rome wiped Carthage out. The material states that Romans developed a taste for the types of liqueurs that the Carthaginian colonists in Spain had learned how to make, and that the Romans called it “Liquor Mirabilis”.
This is all just a little unlikely, given that liqueurs require distillation, the process of which was not discovered until sometime in the 10th to 11th century. Without distillation you can’t get the clear taste, never mind the alcohol content above 15 or 16% required for liqueurs. If anything was exported from here to Rome, it would have been perhaps strong, sweet flavoured wines, which would make it pretty much like all wines made back then — that is the closest they could have got to liqueurs. So sadly, the Roman connection with this liqueur is a tall tale.
“Cuarenta y Tres” in Spanish means “forty-three.”