Amaros (and digestifs)

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

Let's talk about the bitter ones.

I am enjoying the Sibilia I got a lot (based on the board rec) and want to really start focusing on a smallish collection. I was looking recently online at Astor Wines to see what I wanted next. I know I am not a big fan of strong anisette or eucalyptus. Has anyone had anything good recently?

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 15:42 (two years ago) link

All of the bottle labels are so pretty.

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 15:44 (two years ago) link


sleeve, Friday, 11 January 2019 15:55 (two years ago) link

nonino would be a good place to go next, it's grape-based and pretty soft. it's another one that's more, uh, premium priced. trying to think of cheaper bottles that are worth a look but a lot of them share that caramel color flavor that isn't intrinsically bad but makes them a little less interesting on their own or with soda.

call all destroyer, Friday, 11 January 2019 16:18 (two years ago) link

It's funny, when I took my cert somm exam nonino was the producer I chose to recommend in case they asked for a grappa or amaro or eau de vie (since it filled 3 categories). I've had that before and ramazzotti, montenegro and then the main ones they sell everywhere like fernet, cynar. My spouse is going to Italy for work and I want him to bring back a couple of amaros but maybe he should go by label.

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 16:30 (two years ago) link

let me see what else i have on the shelves. i think the next one i'm supposed to buy is nardini but i believe it had some anise notes...

call all destroyer, Friday, 11 January 2019 16:35 (two years ago) link

I'm going on one of my Atlanta grocery runs soon (I think) and am worried about how much I'm going to spend in liquor stores. Definitely want to try Cynar and see what uncommon amari are available.

If Your Site Mod Vomits (Do This Every Day) (WmC), Friday, 11 January 2019 16:40 (two years ago) link

It says nardini has peppermint (not a huge fan of either). And Gentian which looks like a pretty blue flower whose root is used in amaros.

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 16:43 (two years ago) link

cynar is just so good for everything. And not expensive.

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 16:44 (two years ago) link

Oh hi. I love Cynar. That's a staple.

The ones I have at home right now are Aperol, Campari, Averna, Sfumato, Meletti, Nonino, dell'Erborista, Cinpatrazzo, and Letherbee Fernet. In the past, I've also owned CioCiaro, Ramazzotti, Montenegro, Zucca, Fernet Branca.

I think of Averna as fairly versatile, kind of a workhorse for cocktail use (it's in a lot of recipes) and also pretty good on its own. Sfumato and Zucca are really great -- they're rabarbaros (made from rhubarb) and have an intense smoky flavor. Meletti is sweeter than most and kind of orangey-chocolatey. I've been enjoying it lately. Dell'Erborista is complex but quite bitter, not my favorite to sip on (it's also rather expensive). Cinpatrazzo is interesting -- it's made from arugula -- but may be hard to find outside of Chicago, where it's made. It's been so long since I had CioCiaro, but in my memory it's kind of similar to Montenegro.

jaymc, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:01 (two years ago) link

(Guess I should've said "the *other* ones I have at home," because I always have Cynar.)

jaymc, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:02 (two years ago) link

A cocktail bar in my neighborhood has an Amaro Machine, which is basically the equivalent of an "infinity bottle" of whiskey, where they just periodically add different amari to an ever-changing mixture. Sometimes I try to replicate this at home by pouring a splash of a few different bottles into a rocks glass. I've rarely gone wrong.

jaymc, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:07 (two years ago) link

lol, a suicide* for grownups. Would try.

*the drink

If Your Site Mod Vomits (Do This Every Day) (WmC), Friday, 11 January 2019 17:12 (two years ago) link

Cynar and aperol are staples in my house. Not a huge fernet fan but it's probably because it's everywhere where I am (and because of the licorice/mint). Dell'erborista was actually on my list of ones to try since it's made by the same family as Sibilla. I am putting the sfumato and zucca on my list, that sounds really good.

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:15 (two years ago) link

xpost, ha they should make an amaro solera system with that.

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:16 (two years ago) link

I wonder if everything in Italy now is exported.

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:19 (two years ago) link

Nothing prepared me for the sheer volume of Fernet people manage to get through in Argentina.

I have a bunch of digestifs at home but they tend to be Eastern European. Rigas Balsam is an acquired taste. Unicum remains the second most vile thing I’ve ever drunk, after a Danish bitter liqueur whose name escapes me. If anyone comes across anything particularly good from that part of the world, let me know.

ShariVari, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:21 (two years ago) link

Becherovka is delicious and tastes like Christmas tbf.

ShariVari, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:23 (two years ago) link

a Danish bitter liqueur whose name escapes me

Gammel Dansk?

jaymc, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:24 (two years ago) link

Me: You know what Unicum is made from?
Wife (sighs, has heard me make this joke a dozen times): What
Me: Unicorn cum

jaymc, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:26 (two years ago) link

I can’t imagine Gammel Dansk is that bad but I think I still have the bottle at home so will look.

ShariVari, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:26 (two years ago) link

Tastes like xmas like speculoos or like pine?

thx for the links jaymc!

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:30 (two years ago) link

Unicum has a bottle that looks like someone graduated from wearing drakkar noir.

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:32 (two years ago) link

I can’t imagine Gammel Dansk is that bad but I think I still have the bottle at home so will look.

We have a bottle of Gammel Dansk in our drinks cabinet as a "gift" from some friends' Danish holiday. Suspect the famed botanicals therein to include dandelion milk, baby shampoo and the stuff my parents painted on my fingernails when I was 5 to stop me biting them. It's a lot worse than Unicum imo.

a passing spacecadet, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:52 (two years ago) link

"Rigas Balsam is an acquired taste"

Oh, I think I bought a bottle of this from the Baltic shop in my town just to see what it was. Brown bottle, like some kind of Edwardian ceramic, not much bigger than a test tube? Or is there something else in a similar bottle? It was either Latvian or Lithuanian, with apologies to any Baltic readers for mixing them up.

I found it OK-ish although the other half found it disgusting (more than Unicum but not as much as Gammel Dansk) and I wouldn't buy a bigger bottle, put it that way.

(Not quite on-topic itt, but my favourite thing from the Baltic shop is the Ukrainian birch vodka - Nemiroff brand, I think. Perhaps I should take that to a vodka thread...)

a passing spacecadet, Friday, 11 January 2019 18:05 (two years ago) link

I was at a friend's place on NYE, and he had not only a bottle of Rigas Balsam but also a Chilean amaro I'd never heard of called Araucano. It was pretty good.

jaymc, Friday, 11 January 2019 18:09 (two years ago) link

jaymc, thanks for those links -- I'll make copious notes before my trip.

If Your Site Mod Vomits (Do This Every Day) (WmC), Friday, 11 January 2019 18:12 (two years ago) link

xpost Oh I see that araucano in the grocery store. Because of the label I thought it was a fernet or angosturo. How did you drink it?

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 18:19 (two years ago) link

Just sipped on a bit of it, neat

jaymc, Friday, 11 January 2019 18:22 (two years ago) link

I guess the title should've been Amari. Like I learned about the singular of pasta shapes here.

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 18:50 (two years ago) link

It turns out the offending drink was Piratens Besk, which is neither Danish, nor really an aperitif - it’s a wormwood schnapps kind of thing so apologies both to the Danes and the amaro family.

ShariVari, Friday, 11 January 2019 19:06 (two years ago) link

ok so for edification of myself and possibly others i'm going try to taste one amaro a day when i'm home and post a quick tasting note...i mostly use these guys in cocktails and not as sippers so this should be interesting.

first off the shelf is amaro lucano. aroma is more spicy than herbal. distinct menthol note. doesn't taste minty though, tastes more like warm baking spices. lots of cinnamon. fairly sweet, what i'd call light-medium bitterness. pretty think mouthfeel with that syrupy caramel color thing.

call all destroyer, Friday, 11 January 2019 19:22 (two years ago) link

I'm into it ^^^. I'll do the same when I come across something new (maybe I can get the araucano tomorrow when I go grocery shopping).

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 20:00 (two years ago) link

should have been THICK mouthfeel up there

call all destroyer, Friday, 11 January 2019 20:06 (two years ago) link

many xposts, jaymc Do you have the Amaro book. I had thought about getting it over the holidays but I thought it might be cocktail recipe heavy which I wasn't so interested in that part of it.

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 20:28 (two years ago) link

In late summer 2017 I was sitting at the nice restaurant my boyfriend was working at, having an after-his-shift drink with him, and there was a gregarious man down the bar who was on a date with his wife. The man bought my bf and me a shot that he thought was really "the best": half smoky mezcal, and half Montenegro. It is a delicious shot. We had another after he left and verified that yes, this is a delicious drink, and the night was really nice and we had a great time and the drink kind of became our go-to romantic celebratory drink.

We didn't know what the drink was called and so we just called it a Harrison (the gregarious man's name was Harrison). Our enjoyment of the drink around the few restaurants we enjoy has caught on and there's a place up the street from me that has a Harrison on the menu. It's a good drink! Hard to get good mezcal in Canada but anyway yeah

flamboyant goon tie included, Friday, 11 January 2019 20:42 (two years ago) link

I really want to try this shot and I don't have either of those things.

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 21:55 (two years ago) link

not going to drink it as a shot but i'll def try it as a 50/50 cocktail

call all destroyer, Friday, 11 January 2019 21:57 (two years ago) link

It works well as a sipper with a single cube of ice, can confirm

flamboyant goon tie included, Friday, 11 January 2019 23:20 (two years ago) link

I was going to write "I have the Amaro book" but I realised I don't, I have "Bitterman's Field Guide to Bitters and Amari" which is 90% about bitters and the amari section is just a 10-page list of brands with tasting notes.

seandalai, Saturday, 12 January 2019 00:18 (two years ago) link

Did you enjoy the book?

Yerac, Saturday, 12 January 2019 00:41 (two years ago) link

it's fine - I already had one book on Bitters (the Brad Parsons one), this didn't really add much on top of that one

seandalai, Saturday, 12 January 2019 01:49 (two years ago) link

lots of "what if Negroni but with Angostura Bitters" type recipes

seandalai, Saturday, 12 January 2019 01:49 (two years ago) link

I got into Amari via Fernet but it turns out the only Fernet I really like is Branca (I have near-full/going-nowhere bottles of Fernet 1882, Fernet Stock and this weird creature). When I left a previous job the leaving gift from my very thoughtful colleagues was a bottle of Rigas Balsam (also going nowhere)...

All-time favourites are probably: Cynar, Meletti, Suze, Fernet Branca. I have some others lying around (Montenegro, Nonino, Campari, Aperol) that only really see cocktail use.

seandalai, Saturday, 12 January 2019 01:50 (two years ago) link

tbh cocktail use is my main interest here, altho I drink Fernet Branca straight

sleeve, Saturday, 12 January 2019 02:00 (two years ago) link

hmmm, yeah I am not interested in any cocktail book. I don't really make cocktails at home and usually will just drink things with soda water if anything. Even the aperol I think is too sweet if I do it with prosecco/spritz so will just use soda water.

Yerac, Saturday, 12 January 2019 02:03 (two years ago) link

Ha, opposite xpost.

Yerac, Saturday, 12 January 2019 02:03 (two years ago) link

i def buy them for cocktails and pulling off specific recipes, what the heck, they're shelf-stable and have cool-looking bottles. i'm not opposed to drinking them straight and should probably do so more often since the shelving unit i use for liquor is pretty much maxed. need to reorganize it and shift some underutilized stuff to the basement shelves asap.

call all destroyer, Saturday, 12 January 2019 02:10 (two years ago) link

yeah, I can only focus on so much at once and just don't even want to get into trying to keep a full bar at home. 80% of my space goes to wine with the other 20% basically brown spirits.

Yerac, Saturday, 12 January 2019 02:19 (two years ago) link

many xposts, jaymc Do you have the Amaro book. I had thought about getting it over the holidays but I thought it might be cocktail recipe heavy which I wasn't so interested in that part of it.

Yep. I did buy it for the cocktail recipes, which make up about half the book, but there's also a substantial section (maybe about a quarter of the book) that just lists and describes various amari.

jaymc, Saturday, 12 January 2019 03:57 (two years ago) link

this weird creature

Ha, I bought that (Salmiakki Dala) for my brother for Christmas a couple of years ago (though I don't think I realized it was produced by Bittermens).

jaymc, Saturday, 12 January 2019 03:59 (two years ago) link

I had Nardini Tagliatella, which the seller said was a mix of a lot of different tap drippings. It was good, but sweeter than I normally like.

I am doing dry January so no amaro for me this month.

Virginia Plain, Saturday, 12 January 2019 05:58 (two years ago) link

VP we will be around all Feb. so we can have an amari tasting then.

Yerac, Saturday, 12 January 2019 13:06 (two years ago) link

At the grocery store today I also found this other chilean amaro (I did not buy) that was an alpenkrauter? For some reason I can only find a pic on a flickr. The label was cute.

Yerac, Saturday, 12 January 2019 15:53 (two years ago) link

Yes, Yerac, I am down for February amaro tasting! I love Amaros so much. One thing I really like is having it for the last drink of the night, as it calms me down and teaches my brain to stop drinking, unlike most liquors.

Virginia Plain, Sunday, 13 January 2019 03:04 (two years ago) link

Yeah, I don't really know if they help digestion but I drink them too instead of opening a bottle of wine. I mixed the sibilla and the araucano i got last night together.

Yerac, Sunday, 13 January 2019 12:36 (two years ago) link

are we in a trendy amaro moment? overheard a friend-of-friends talking about them on friday night and got some tips on where to buy locally and some recommendations

mh, Sunday, 13 January 2019 16:45 (two years ago) link

Hmm maybe. I was shocked when I learned several years ago how popular negronis were in the US and maybe it's a natural side effect of that, going away from fruity/sweet drinks to more savory/bitter. I noticed a lot of US artisanal amari when I was in the wine/spirits stores last year.

Yerac, Sunday, 13 January 2019 17:03 (two years ago) link

they've been bubbling under for a couple years but yeah i think they might be hitting another level based on my own very anecdotal experiences

call all destroyer, Sunday, 13 January 2019 17:04 (two years ago) link

I've never done tasting notes on an amaro before and I don't have benchmarks here to start from but I went based upon other alcohols.

Araucano ~$10USD in chile
Medium amber brown, clear. On the nose it's very cola, sassafras, clove, cinnamon bark, cocoa powder, vanilla, orange oil, a little bit of menthol. Palate is cinnamon cola, sassafras, allspice, orange peel, woody. Medium+ sugar, medium+ acidity, medium+ bitterness. Medium finish.

Yerac, Sunday, 13 January 2019 19:47 (two years ago) link

next up we got amaro ciociaro. mine is an old bottle i actually i made a special trip to astor wines & spirits for back before this stuff was in wider distribution. back in the day it was a preferred substitute for amer picon for people in the u.s.a. who were trying to make the brooklyn cocktail, though i think there are several more options now.

smells like orange and cloves to me. that holds in the taste as well though there's some brown sugar and another flavor i'd describe as "granulated white sugar" which is interesting. i think of ciociaro as one of the more fruit-forward (well really orange-forward) amari at least among the basic brown ones. there's another one on my shelf coming up that blows it away in that regard but it's still pleasant, with moderate sweetness, light bitterness, and a less gloopy mouthfeel.

call all destroyer, Monday, 14 January 2019 19:44 (two years ago) link

I think one of these amaros is the equivalent of smooth move with me. I tried to look it up to see if that was a common side effect. nope.

Yerac, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 16:49 (two years ago) link

Indeed, I'm pretty sure I bought the CioCiaro a few years ago to make the Brooklyn and other drinks calling for Amer Picon. I don't know what else is easily substitutable for Amer Picon, though there a few DIY recipes out there. For instance, Jamie Boudreau of Canon in Seattle makes one with a base of Ramazzotti, orange tincture, and orange bitters.

jaymc, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 16:58 (two years ago) link

My spouse is in Rome and so far has picked up Diesus and Braulio Riserva and then also some more Sibilla because it is 28euro there (as opposed to the $~50 in the US).

Yerac, Thursday, 17 January 2019 00:09 (two years ago) link

Also got Dell'Erborista (the 70-75cl bottle for 19euro!) and San Marco Sarandrea. I get excited about these things because the main thing I do when I/we travel is look for wine/liquor and spices.

Yerac, Thursday, 17 January 2019 18:13 (two years ago) link

I wish more liqueurs were available in small bottles. I want a taste before I spring for 750 ml.

The Non-Verbal Signs Your Mod Is Giving You (WmC), Thursday, 17 January 2019 18:29 (two years ago) link

I think Italy does have amari in mini bottles. I tasted a bunch once at a friend's house. Otherwise the next time you go to a bar and it's relatively slow I would think most bartenders would give you a 1 oz pour to taste especially if you are going to get a cocktail anyway. I sometimes have places do half pours/split glasses for me or a friend if I want to create my own flights of something. But it's usually during quietish times and i always make sure to tip well for the annoyance of extra glasses. And if the bartender is good they will be happy to talk about whatever it is you want to try.

Yerac, Thursday, 17 January 2019 18:44 (two years ago) link

i like to read this thread just for the names of the drinks. idk what most of them are but their names are very soothing!

i have enjoyed several herbal/herbaceous digestifs and love anisette but otherwise i am reading for sentences like My spouse is in Rome and so far has picked up Diesus and Braulio Riserva and then also some more Sibilla because it sounds so idyllic and i need that right now ;)

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 17 January 2019 19:01 (two years ago) link

I think Italy does have amari in mini bottles.

OK I'm actively gonna look for these when we're there

sleeve, Thursday, 17 January 2019 20:13 (two years ago) link

Ha! I know I said it before but they have the prettiest labels. I was going by some of this article about what to look for in Rome. Sadly the San Simone could not be found this trip. That font/typeface *is* great.

The Diesus Amaro del Frata has the same monk-like bottle shape as Frangelico.

Yerac, Thursday, 17 January 2019 20:16 (two years ago) link

the one with the deer on it!
the labels + the names is like asmr for people who like concoctions

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 17 January 2019 20:19 (two years ago) link

Years ago on a vacation to Maine I stopped at (New Hampshire?) state-run liquor store and discovered Chambord and St. Germain via mini bottles. I'll try just about anything that way, down to the most cheap-ass peach-pecan whiskey. xxp

The Non-Verbal Signs Your Mod Is Giving You (WmC), Thursday, 17 January 2019 20:20 (two years ago) link

amari labels are the absolute best. i transfer a lot of liqueurs and small-quantity stuff to standard 375ml bottles and store the original bottles in the basement, but i can’t bring myself to do it with the amari.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 17 January 2019 20:32 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

I went a little nuts in Atlanta this weekend: full bottles of Nonino, Averna and Cynar, a 375ml bottle of Fernet-Branca, and a 50ml mini of Amaro de Toscana. I'll have a tasting session this evening.

ILX Moderator: It's Like a Pressure Wash for Your Insides (WmC), Tuesday, 19 February 2019 14:11 (two years ago) link

I tried Averna for the first time with virginia plain last night. Very cola. Also bought a bottle of Sfumato that I have not opened yet.

Yerac, Tuesday, 19 February 2019 16:50 (two years ago) link

two weeks pass...

I took a pic of my current drink cart and growing amari collection.

Yerac, Wednesday, 6 March 2019 16:46 (one year ago) link

i can see it if i open in a new tab but obv the embed isn't working

call all destroyer, Wednesday, 6 March 2019 16:50 (one year ago) link

I am really bad at the internet.

Yerac, Wednesday, 6 March 2019 16:51 (one year ago) link

had montenegro after a good meal on saturday night. very nice digestif. wish there were more amari available in the liquor stores i frequent

( ͡☉ ͜ʖ ͡☉) (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 6 March 2019 18:07 (one year ago) link

teeny tiny eno! (hearts emoticon)
yeah, am in the same situation wrt nearby liquor stores so got a bottle of Amaro Dell'Etna delivered. it's. freaking. exquisite.

The immortal Hydra Viridisimma (outdoor_miner), Wednesday, 6 March 2019 18:50 (one year ago) link

That's a lot of Aperol. But you never know when the next Aperol Famine will hit, so you're set.

27 Discounts ILXors Get Only If They Know (WmC), Wednesday, 6 March 2019 18:52 (one year ago) link

Thank you for reposting! One of the pics was showing up for me, who knows?

Not all of that are amari. Yeah we have a lot of aperol because it was on sale for like $10usd a bottle one month.

Yerac, Wednesday, 6 March 2019 19:03 (one year ago) link

good reminder to taste montenegro which also happens to be sitting right on my counter. on the lighter-bodied end of things, this one is cool for having a unique and unmistakable floral note. i'd characterize it as dried rose petals. other than that, caramelly sweetness and mild bitterness. worth having, hard to substitute.

call all destroyer, Wednesday, 6 March 2019 23:47 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

my tasting notes from our trip to Europe (and back here in the US, I think I'm hooked on this stuff):

Holland (beginning of trip) - purchased in a German supermarket:
Romanetti Alle Herbe amaro: day 1 tasting: orange, chocolate, more sweet than bitter. Day 2 tasting: "this reminds me of something... wait.... Coca-Cola!"

in Italy:
San Simone: medicinal smell, mint orange chocolate notes, not as medicinal taste, more bitter, Fernet Branca vibes but lighter

Amaro Silvano: wtf is even going on here! Allspice comes first, then clove cinnamon and other dark spice vibes, sweet before bitter. Tiny hint of anise? Like a pfeffernusse cookie turned into an amaro. I think this was our overall favorite.

Vecchio Amaro Del Capo - ice cold, super complex. Anise, licorice, herbs, dark caramel. Another favorite.

Amaro Lucano - these are starting to blur together, but this is more medicinal, like Jaeger lite. Lotsa sweet finish notes

Amaro Jefferson: nutmeg nutmeg nutmeg, then some other spices, light color and flavor, yummm

Averna - another immediate "coca-cola" hit. Cloves? Some chocolate finish notes, heat from alcohol, spices

Amaro Montenegro - much more floral, cinnamon spice finish, lighter. Odd & very complex herbal/medicinal overtones. Served over ice, not sure if that's standard.

Holland (end of trip):
Schierker Feuerstein krauter-halb-bitter - from Germany, duh. Medicinal Jaeger vibes again, quite bitter. Only 70 proof, it was a bit slushy right out of the freezer. How can this have more heat taste than the others?!?! It definitely does. Not as many spice/citrus/chocolate notes as the others.

Cocchi Amaro - served over ice with orange slice (not peel). Much lighter, almost sour, really this is a bitter red vermouth. None of the thicker, denser, almost syrupy aspects of the others. After eating orange slice: definitely a light red vermouth, but super fancy and refreshing. Hardly any sweet notes at all.

back in America, still tasting:
Bruto Americano -the most bitter, but is this even an amaro? No thickness or sweet or syrupy aspects. Cherry, bark, medicine, light taste with dark color. It tastes like Laurie's digestive bitter tincture!!

Amaro Nonino - syrupy, cinnamon, kinda light color and flavor even with the heaviness, honey notes, also super bitter, very good.

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Wednesday, 8 May 2019 13:51 (one year ago) link

Nice! I have tasted uh three of those.

I have a bottle of Bruto Americano but I've never worked out what to do with it.

seandalai, Wednesday, 8 May 2019 20:57 (one year ago) link

Sounds like a great trip, sleeve.

I will be in New Orleans on 6/1, trip planned at the last minute, and I have some liquor searching planned. Keife & Co. are hoping to have Zucca back in stock by the time I get there, and I will look for Silvano and Jefferson.

WmC, Wednesday, 8 May 2019 21:12 (one year ago) link

xp it was good just over ice, I could see an orange garnish as well but I think it works fine by itself

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Wednesday, 8 May 2019 21:16 (one year ago) link

I still regret not picking up a bottle of Bitterol (same label design as Aperol, clearly made by same people) - anyone had that?

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Wednesday, 8 May 2019 21:17 (one year ago) link

Ohhh, I am interested in that amaro jefferson, will be on the lookout. Looked like a great trip!

Yerac, Wednesday, 8 May 2019 21:31 (one year ago) link

thanks, yeah we had a great time.

the Jefferson was a real standout, I want some! I need to check the local store that carries such things.

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Wednesday, 8 May 2019 21:46 (one year ago) link

your notes on montenegro and lucano are very simpatico with mine.

i’ve only been drinking beer and wine recently. need to sneak some amari back in there.

call all destroyer, Wednesday, 8 May 2019 21:49 (one year ago) link

Ugh, I am not drinking the rest of the month. It sucks. I have to live vicariously.

Yerac, Wednesday, 8 May 2019 22:25 (one year ago) link

OK I found a bottle of Vecchio Amaro Del Capo at the local store, it was one of the coolest ones we tried and it's also from Calabria where we spent most of our time (my wife's family is from there). Into the freezer it goes for special occasions.

I also made an impulse buy of something I saw and liked the label of, but didn't get to try - Amaro Ciociaro:

poured a little into a shot glass to taste straight, uhhhh this is the most baffling yet. still some bitter notes but massive, upfront sugar/thick/syrup hits, like bubblegum/toasted coconut/burnt caramel/cotton candy kinda tastes. too sweet!

we diluted the rest of the shot glass with water and it improved a lot, you could start to taste the floral notes. I think their suggestion of "over ice with lemon peel" sounds good, something to balance out that (delicious, fancy) bubble gum madness. note sure how best to use this, time for research.

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Thursday, 9 May 2019 14:08 (one year ago) link

yeah, usually when I have been tasting these I do it straight first and then with a little bit of seltzer to kind of figure out how I prefer things. I don't like the overly sweet/luscious ones because I am not making cocktails and I don't tend to like sweet things.

Yerac, Thursday, 9 May 2019 14:23 (one year ago) link

That 8 Amaro Sazerac in that link seems crazy. I want to try it.

Yerac, Thursday, 9 May 2019 14:36 (one year ago) link

I would have to buy like five things!

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Thursday, 9 May 2019 14:38 (one year ago) link

If I can remember I am going to ask a bar to make it for me.

Yerac, Thursday, 9 May 2019 14:40 (one year ago) link

I had that mini of Amaro di Toscana last night on a couple of ice cubes. It's pretty good! It's somewhere between the cola + spices profile of Averna with just the right amount of Fernet-Branca's mentholated bitterness.

WmC, Monday, 13 May 2019 14:59 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

Hoodoo chicory liqueur, from Cathead Distillery in Jackson MS. Toffee, coffee, chocolate, hints of pie spices, bitterness obviously. After finishing it and the glass is drying it smells like cinnamon.

I am curious (george) (slight return) (WmC), Thursday, 20 June 2019 23:57 (one year ago) link

That looks really good. If I had a sweet tooth I would make a syrupy reduction and use it to drizzle on pie or ice cream. Or make it into ice cream. Would that be too bitter to put into your coffee?

Yerac, Friday, 21 June 2019 01:48 (one year ago) link

I think it would be perfect in coffee.

I am curious (george) (slight return) (WmC), Friday, 21 June 2019 02:00 (one year ago) link


Ambient Police (sleeve), Friday, 21 June 2019 02:20 (one year ago) link

I have not tried anything new but I re-tried this badass local calisaya, still delicious, golden spicy chinchona

Ambient Police (sleeve), Friday, 21 June 2019 02:24 (one year ago) link

four months pass...

I bought some Picon today, based on hype that I've seen about it. It's readily available here (I bought it at an Asian supermarket that I frequent, but it's not a speciality item). It tastes great! But I gather from this thread that it's a cocktail thing. Do any of you have particular recommendations on things to make with it?

L'assie (Euler), Wednesday, 30 October 2019 15:55 (one year ago) link

picon is mostly famous in america at least for being a key ingredient in the brooklyn cocktail, itself mostly famous imo for being named after brooklyn. the brooklyn formulation you'll see most is 2 oz. of rye with a 1-oz. mix of dry vermouth, picon, and maraschino. this results in an *extremely* dry cocktail that is more bracing than it is tasty.

jim meehan proposed a revision to the brooklyn in one of his books, basing his case on the fact that instead of dry vermouth, cocktails developed in the early 20th century might have been using blanc vermouth. you could make his formulation with 2 oz. rye, .75 oz. blanc vermouth, and a quarter oz. each of picon and maraschino. we still don't have picon here but there are several alternate options--i've made meehan's version with one of them and i think it's great.

in general, picon and picon-like formulations will do well with any spicy rye or herbacious gin formula you want to come up with. also, it's been years since i had a picon bier in paris but i wouldn't turn one down right now.

call all destroyer, Wednesday, 30 October 2019 17:30 (one year ago) link

yeah the one I bought says "Picon bière" and the recipe on the back is to add it to a beer. I'm not averse to that, but I'm more interested in cocktails. I read about Picon punch, and I'm going to make some tonight. An herbaceous gin combo sounds good though.

L'assie (Euler), Wednesday, 30 October 2019 17:55 (one year ago) link

Its heyday has passed but eGullet is a good place to check for discussion of exotic drinks going back to the 00s when craft cocktail ppl were discovering them afresh and trying to work out what to do with them. There's an Amer Picon thread:

britain's secret sauce (seandalai), Wednesday, 30 October 2019 21:36 (one year ago) link

oh i posted this in a cocktail thread a couple of weeks ago but if anyone is idle there are so many wonderful vintage cocktail books archived online here.

Yerac, Wednesday, 30 October 2019 21:44 (one year ago) link

that egullet thread brings me back. they were at the tail end of their prime when i found the place but there's a wealth of info on there. some really incredible science of shaking and stirring posts that still inform how i mix drinks. sincere 2000s message boarding at its best.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 31 October 2019 01:07 (one year ago) link

holy crap Yerac that website is nuts. i love perusing stuff like that. thx

one charm and one antiup quark (outdoor_miner), Friday, 1 November 2019 15:27 (one year ago) link

I love Picon biere, and I thought it was one of the few remaining things that you still can't easily buy in the U.S. (a friend brings back a bottle from Paris every few years). Has that changed?

Last night we had some of the Nocino (walnut liqueur) that I brought back from Switzerland in like '06, it's still delicious.

change display name (Jordan), Friday, 1 November 2019 15:34 (one year ago) link

still no picon in the u.s. as far as i know

call all destroyer, Friday, 1 November 2019 15:48 (one year ago) link

Yeah, you still can't get the original Amer Picon in the U.S., as far as I know. Where are you, Euler?

There are a couple of substitutes that I'm aware of -- the most common is Torani Amer. Also, some people just use other amari, like CioCiaro or Ramazzotti, for recipes that call for Amer Picon.

jaymc, Friday, 1 November 2019 15:48 (one year ago) link

(CioCiaro is what I've personally used to make Brooklyns and picon bieres.)

jaymc, Friday, 1 November 2019 15:49 (one year ago) link

ah, thanks, I was struggling with how to use CioCiaro upthread, never thought of using amari boilermaker style

Book Doula (sleeve), Friday, 1 November 2019 15:52 (one year ago) link

euler is in paris iirc

bigallet china-china is another good substitute--even more pronounced orange flavors than ciociaro.

call all destroyer, Friday, 1 November 2019 15:53 (one year ago) link

Yeah, I get the impression that the orange notes are key. Jamie Boudreau (of Canon in Seattle) uses Ramazzotti but mixed with orange bitters and orange tincture.

jaymc, Friday, 1 November 2019 16:04 (one year ago) link

Golden Moon Distillery in Colorado makes a Picon they claim is faithful to the original recipe:

Golden Moon Amer dit Picon is produced using the finest hand-selected herbs, spices and botanicals available. We have recreated the original processes and acquired the original type of ingredients used by legendary distiller Gaetan Picon to create his amer (bitters) in the 1830’s. Bottled at 78 Proof, Golden Moon Amer dit Picon is the perfect ingredient for the legendary Picon Punch, the Brittany cocktail, and a host of other classic cocktails. It can also be enjoyed by itself.

Looks like they've got distribution local to me, going to see who stocks it.

by the light of the burning Citroën, Friday, 1 November 2019 16:18 (one year ago) link

no distro near me but that's awesome!

call all destroyer, Friday, 1 November 2019 16:23 (one year ago) link

yeah I live in Paris

I really like Picon! I've been mixing it with grenadine and soda water, sort of a Picon Punch but without brandy.

I think I need to buy a shaker if I'm gonna keep making cocktails. Stirring it with a butter knife doesn't work that well.

L'assie (Euler), Friday, 1 November 2019 17:19 (one year ago) link

to get your start with stirred cocktails (as 99% of picon cocktails would be) just get a nice long barspoon and strainer and use a regular pint glass.

call all destroyer, Friday, 1 November 2019 17:53 (one year ago) link

what is the strainer for? for seeds from a lemon for instance?

L'assie (Euler), Friday, 1 November 2019 17:55 (one year ago) link

1. put your ingredients in the pint glass
2. add ice
3. stir until chilled
4. strain into a chilled cocktail glass

call all destroyer, Friday, 1 November 2019 17:59 (one year ago) link

yeah, if you google image boston shaker vs cobbler shaker you will see that you usually need a strainer for the boston shaker set up. I much prefer the pint glass method.

Yerac, Friday, 1 November 2019 18:00 (one year ago) link

oh ice, yeah that would be nice, we don't normally have it here (it's something I like usa fridges for) but I could make some.

L'assie (Euler), Friday, 1 November 2019 18:03 (one year ago) link

I don't bother straining stirred drinks (beyond removing the ice) but yeah, ice is fundamental to most cocktail recipes (apart from the whole room-temperature scaffa thing)

britain's secret sauce (seandalai), Friday, 1 November 2019 20:12 (one year ago) link

I had a picon bierre last night, inspired by this thread, the bar I was in just happens to have it on the first page of their menu. It was very nice and took the edge off the overly hoppy beer they made it with.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Friday, 1 November 2019 20:19 (one year ago) link

a picon biere made with a hoppy beer is an interesting idea. i've only ever had it made with, like, kronenbourg.

call all destroyer, Friday, 1 November 2019 20:32 (one year ago) link

I'm sure there's a better name than "beer negroni" but beer + Campari + vermouth is lovely

britain's secret sauce (seandalai), Friday, 1 November 2019 21:18 (one year ago) link

I've only tried with lighter lager-ish beers though

britain's secret sauce (seandalai), Friday, 1 November 2019 21:18 (one year ago) link

It would probably be better with kronenbourg. As ever I am a grumpy old bastard who things hops should be in balance with the other flavours.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Friday, 1 November 2019 21:34 (one year ago) link

I was give a bottle of Aromes de Montserrat it’s a on the chartreuse spectrum but tastes more cedary. Definitely not great for drink it on its own, what should I mix it into?

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Tuesday, 5 November 2019 10:00 (one year ago) link

Reading this thread in a fancy resto just having a couple refreshments. ordered fgti's smokey mezcal Montenegro rec. Am fairly uninitiated in mezcal but this is rly lovely!

one charm and one antiup quark (outdoor_miner), Friday, 8 November 2019 02:37 (one year ago) link

This thread is akin to the floyd - rules!

one charm and one antiup quark (outdoor_miner), Friday, 8 November 2019 02:38 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

Picked up bottles of Zucca, CioCiaro, Branca Menta, and Amaro di Angostura in Atlanta this week. The Ango is amazing -- reviews all talk about cinnamon, but what I get is a luscious allspice liqueur. Branca Menta smells like Scope but is rich on the palate. Thumbs up for all four.

WmC, Sunday, 8 December 2019 04:15 (one year ago) link

you should make my favorite cocktail that has zucca:

call all destroyer, Sunday, 8 December 2019 04:25 (one year ago) link

Nice, I had a shot of the Amaro di Angostura in Indianapolis a few years ago and was impressed.

CAD: I'm not a huge fan of egg-white cocktails, but that looks good.

One of my favorite Zucca cocktails is the house cocktail at a place in my neighborhood called Sportsman's Club:

(I use Campari in place of the Luxardo Bitter. And any high-proof bourbon or rye will do.)

jaymc, Sunday, 8 December 2019 06:03 (one year ago) link

Thanks for those recipes. CAD, that Throw the Gun #2 recipe says 1 egg -- does that mean the whole egg? I thought cocktails just used egg whites.

WmC, Sunday, 8 December 2019 16:34 (one year ago) link

it is indeed a whole egg. there is an entire category of whole-egg drinks historically known as "flips" from which that drink descends.

call all destroyer, Sunday, 8 December 2019 16:59 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

Every now and then, the 2 1/2 decent liquor stores in Tupelo will sneak something new and interesting into stock -- got a bottle of Amaro Montenegro today while I was looking for Everclear.

Miami weisse (WmC), Saturday, 21 March 2020 18:08 (eleven months ago) link

ooh jealous, that was one of my favorites from the Italy trip notes upthread

sleeve, Saturday, 21 March 2020 18:27 (eleven months ago) link

did you find everclear? It's kind of crazy how much cheaper italian amaros can be in countries outside the US (I mean if you can find them). We took a bottle of aperol from here to the US because it's so much cheaper here.

Yerac, Saturday, 21 March 2020 19:03 (eleven months ago) link

Everclear itself is sold out everywhere, but one store had plenty of Diesel 190-proof grain spirit. With a name like Diesel, it ought to make some great sanitizer.

Miami weisse (WmC), Saturday, 21 March 2020 19:40 (eleven months ago) link

i had everclear one night in my life. Never again.

Yerac, Saturday, 21 March 2020 19:43 (eleven months ago) link

A good and relatively simple Montenegro cocktail is the Cobble Hill:

2 oz rye
0.5 oz dry vermouth
0.5 oz Montenegro

Muddle a couple of cucumber slices in the mixing glass, add other ingredients, and stir with ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.

jaymc, Saturday, 21 March 2020 21:25 (eleven months ago) link

love cucumber in cocktails.

Yerac, Saturday, 21 March 2020 21:33 (eleven months ago) link

I'll give that a go -- bought a cucumber this afternoon. (Every other salad ingredient was sold out, but an onion-cucumber salad is fine by me.)

Miami weisse (WmC), Saturday, 21 March 2020 22:51 (eleven months ago) link

cucumber and whiskey seems very unintuitive to me, meaning... I'll have to try it!

absolute idiot liar uneducated person (mh), Sunday, 22 March 2020 02:11 (eleven months ago) link

Yeah, somehow it works! Also, maybe this is obvious, but the cucumber is strained out of the cocktail. So you're just getting a subtle note of it.

jaymc, Sunday, 22 March 2020 02:17 (eleven months ago) link

there's a pizzeria near me that has Elisir Novasalus on the menu and I'll often have one if I end up there for a late lunch. It's pretty crazy.

El Tomboto, Sunday, 22 March 2020 02:30 (eleven months ago) link

four months pass...

Drinking this:

It's described as a "vermouth amaro" and I guess that's pretty accurate. Reminds me of Bonal, and I haven't had Punt E Mes but I read someone say it tastes similar. Anyway, it's pretty nice straight over ice.

mise róna (seandalai), Friday, 7 August 2020 22:52 (six months ago) link

those vermouth amaro things are funny b/c i feel like they're all separated from regular sweet vermouth by a few degrees of bitterness at best. yet i have ruined a cocktail or two using one of them as a straight replacement for a normal sweet vermouth.

call all destroyer, Saturday, 8 August 2020 01:01 (six months ago) link

two weeks pass...

mmm unexpectedly found a bottle of Amaro Lucano at a store I don't usually go to, drinking some on rocks now

sleeve, Wednesday, 26 August 2020 03:20 (six months ago) link

four weeks pass...

Prompted/inspired by erstwhilXor Tep, I've been infusing amari with coconut. I have a large tub of unrefined, very coconutty coconut oil that I wasn't sure what to do with, and this works perfectly. I did some Campari first. A Jungle Bird with pineapple rum and coconut Campari is some good-ass drinking, let me tell you.

Now I've moved on to Amaro di Angostura, which I infused for 3 days and strained this morning. The amaro is delicious, not coconutty until the swallow and then BAM, and will pair up well with rum; but what I'm really looking forward to is the banana bread I'm going to make with Angostura-infused coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.

(show hidden tics) (WmC), Thursday, 24 September 2020 16:37 (five months ago) link

what ratio of oil to campari did you use?

call all destroyer, Thursday, 24 September 2020 17:36 (five months ago) link

About 1:3 or 1:4, 3 days of infusing. I put the jar in the oven on Bread Proof setting for about 30 minutes at first so the oil would liquefy and gave it a swirl several times a day. Since then the weather has gotten cold, but I'm not sure if that will slow the flavor transfer on future batches.

(show hidden tics) (WmC), Thursday, 24 September 2020 17:44 (five months ago) link

two months pass...

holy shit y'all

the description there doesn't do it justice imo, yes it has a straightforward cola/root beer nose but tasting is is wildly complicated, some fernet minty stuff going on, some of that toasted butter flavor, and something I can't identify that's nut-like? pretty bitter as well, I'm enchanted.

howls of non-specificity (sleeve), Wednesday, 16 December 2020 02:25 (two months ago) link

looking for recipes led me to this fascinating page, sending up the bat-signal for WmC

howls of non-specificity (sleeve), Wednesday, 16 December 2020 02:29 (two months ago) link

Oh yeah, the Amaro 101-102-103-104 pages have been a great resource for me. Another good roundup is at Kindred Cocktails —

Tosolini sounds good, I might look for that on my next trip to Buster's in Memphis. I lost my mind the first time I went in there, spent 300 bucks before I realized what was happening. Turns out Memphis's liquor stores have Atlanta's totally beat.

Motoroller Scampotron (WmC), Wednesday, 16 December 2020 03:13 (two months ago) link

i've never seen tosolini here but maybe i'll do a couple of more careful searches.

call all destroyer, Wednesday, 16 December 2020 03:15 (two months ago) link

I've been drinking a lot of 50:50 amaro/vermouth mixes - I guess that would be Milano-Torino riffs? Nice and light.

timber euros (seandalai), Wednesday, 16 December 2020 15:25 (two months ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.