Amaros (and digestifs)

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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 (ten months 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 (ten months ago) link

Tastes like xmas like speculoos or like pine?

thx for the links jaymc!

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:30 (ten months ago) link

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

Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:32 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months ago) link

Just sipped on a bit of it, neat

jaymc, Friday, 11 January 2019 18:22 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months ago) link

should have been THICK mouthfeel up there

call all destroyer, Friday, 11 January 2019 20:06 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months ago) link

Did you enjoy the book?

Yerac, Saturday, 12 January 2019 00:41 (ten months 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 (ten months ago) link

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

seandalai, Saturday, 12 January 2019 01:49 (ten months 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 (ten months ago) link

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

sleeve, Saturday, 12 January 2019 02:00 (ten months 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 (ten months ago) link

Ha, opposite xpost.

Yerac, Saturday, 12 January 2019 02:03 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months ago) link

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

Yerac, Saturday, 12 January 2019 13:06 (ten months 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. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nirvinochile/7423596160

Yerac, Saturday, 12 January 2019 15:53 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (ten months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (nine months 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 (two weeks 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: https://forums.egullet.org/topic/9916-amer-picon-torani-amer

britain's secret sauce (seandalai), Wednesday, 30 October 2019 21:36 (two weeks 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.

https://euvs-vintage-cocktail-books.cld.bz/

Yerac, Wednesday, 30 October 2019 21:44 (two weeks 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 (two weeks 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 week 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 week ago) link

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

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

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

jaymc, Friday, 1 November 2019 15:49 (one week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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.

http://goldenmoondistillery.com/ourspirits

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 week ago) link

no distro near me but that's awesome!

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

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

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

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

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

This thread is akin to the floyd - rules!

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


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