Marsala, a type of fortified wine, hails from the southern sunny part of Sicily in Italy. This one by Pellegrino (one of the biggest Marsala producers) is “Semi-secco” (semi-sweet) and although commonly used in cooking it’s very yummy sipped by itself as an aperetif!
In 1798 the Sicilians were substituing their own wines in place of the standard rum in English naval shipments. Brandy was added to help it last the long ocean journeys. Those cheeky Italian buggers soon got the Brits demanding more of their delicious Marsala wine!
That demand came from across the Atlantic too. During the prohibition days people found that Marsala looked a lot like medicine, making it less risky than other types of booze.
Remember, it’s not chicken marsala without the marsala so make sure you keep a bottle in the pantry!