It is as clear as water and is still illegally produced in many homes throughout Sardinia. “Filu é ferru” is an old drink with a high alcohol content that can reach 45%. Rosa Maria Scrugli was 23 years old when she was sent on a work mission to Santu Lussurgiu, a small town in the wild area of Oristano, in western Sardinia, in 1970.
A potent beverage known as “filu e ferru,” but affectionately known by the locals as “abbardente” or “fire water,” has been produced in this village of around 2,000 people for 400 years. Scrugli received some welcome bullets from the first person in the neighborhood one night, but it appears the first one hurt her because she almost passed out. Scrugli said to CNN that:
“The next thing I knew, someone had dragged me away and I woke up in my hotel room with the worst hangover ever. The mayor also wasn’t feeling too well, but he was used to drinking filu ‘e ferru. It was my first time, and it was a shock.”
The royal dynasty of Savoy made this drink illegal in the nineteenth century, launching an illegal trade in Santu Lussurgiu. Since then, police inspections have been regular, and farmers have tried to hide their bottles in their homes’ basements or other private spaces.
It is said that Santu Lussurgiu is where Sardinia’s national beverage originated. Sole Carlo Psiche, owner of the only distillery that uses actual wine, is permitted to create it lawfully. His Lussurgesi Distillery employs some of the oldest distillation techniques.