The use of this liqueur was brought from Spain and was probably of Arabic origin. It is prepared, other than with alcohol, sugar, rose water, orange peel and vanilla, with various spices: cinnamon, coriander, macis, cloves, aniseed flowers, cardamon; the cochineal gives it a bright red colour. The cocciniglia (ladybird) is an insect that is dried to obtain the colour and in Spanish it is called alquermes, from the Arabic quirmiz that means exactly scarlet. In Florence it was widely used at the time of the Medici who were great Admirers appreciating it not only as a liqueur to drink but also as a preparation in many sweet dishes. It was produced in the workshops of the monks of Saint Maria Novella and was defined as "Elixir of long life". Also this liqueur - like many other foods and recipes - entered into use in France from Italy brought by the cooks who followed Catherine de'Medici, and became known as the "liquore de' Medici". Today it has fallen into disuse also in the preparation of desserts because it was too syrupy and above all too coloured. But its particular flavour derived from the use of the spices makes you remember and regret its nearly total disappearance.