She was young, beautiful and on the run!

Spanish aristocrat Tia Maria, according to legend, fled Jamaica in the mid-17th century during one of the periodic colonial wars. Her maid saved a small jewellery box containing black pearl earrings and an ancient manuscript with the recipe for a mysterious liqueur.

The recipe was lost and supposedly rediscovered in the 1940s by a Dr. Evans who produced and marketed it. Another variation is that the recipe was actually developed in the 1930s by Jamaica’s Lascelles Mercado who sold it to Pernod-Ricard who sold it to current producer, Italy’s Illva Saronno It. I prefer the lovely Spanish aristocrat story.

Check out the many Tia Maria cocktail recipes at

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