The Mediterranean is full of unique spirits made with a variety of herbs, spices, and other flavorings. Each nation in the region seemingly has it’s own liquor or liqueur to be prideful of (or many), and Malta is no exception.
Mediterranean spirits are often aperitifs or digestif, made specifically for enjoying before or after meals. An noteworthy digestif from Malta is Hanini, made by Savina. The liqueur is a light, smooth, and delicate concoction made with carob.
Carob is often touted as a “healthy alternative” to chocolate — a touch sweater than chocolate, but with no caffeine. Like cacao, cacob comes from a pod that grows on a cacob tree. These pods are roasted and ground into a powder, which is used in the production of Hanini.
At 24 percent ABV, Hanini is most often sipped neat or on the rocks following a dinner (as is the case with most digestifs). Think of it as a liquid form of desert.
Hanini and the Savina line of beverages are part of the overall Magro Group, a Maltese business organization. The Magro Group also maintains a large variety of canning, dairy, and craft food brands.
The word hanini is a term of endearment in Malta, meaning “cute,” however the spirit is named for the Magro family’s M.V. Hanini, a boat that transported a variety of herbs, spice, and other goods (including carob) across the Mediterranean Sea. The ship eventually sank, but the spirit lives on with the digestif. The bottle includes an anchor and the word “sweetheart.”
Savina also makes liqueurs like Laringina, an orange-based drink, and Nozzi Supreme, a liqueur blend made with whiskey, cream, caramel, and herbs and spices. Tikka is another aperitif controlled by the Magro family, as well as the Leila brand of liqueurs, which include carob, amaretto, and limoncello.
These products are widely available in Malta and other select Mediterranean markets. If you stumble upon Hanini and chocolate is in your wheelhouse, go ahead and pick it up!