"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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link
Just sipped on a bit of it, neat
― jaymc, Friday, 11 January 2019 18:22 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link
should have been THICK mouthfeel up there
― call all destroyer, Friday, 11 January 2019 20:06 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link
Did you enjoy the book?
― Yerac, Saturday, 12 January 2019 00:41 (one year 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 (one year ago) link
lots of "what if Negroni but with Angostura Bitters" type recipes
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 (one year ago) link
tbh cocktail use is my main interest here, altho I drink Fernet Branca straight
― sleeve, Saturday, 12 January 2019 02:00 (one year 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 (one year ago) link
Ha, opposite xpost.
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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link
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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link
VP we will be around all Feb. so we can have an amari tasting then.
― Yerac, Saturday, 12 January 2019 13:06 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 chileMedium 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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. https://punchdrink.com/articles/guide-to-smuggling-rare-italian-amaro-campari-cask-tales-braulio/
The Diesus Amaro del Frata has the same monk-like bottle shape as Frangelico.
― Yerac, Thursday, 17 January 2019 20:16 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link
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 (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 (three months 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 (three months 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 (three months ago) link
no distro near me but that's awesome!
― call all destroyer, Friday, 1 November 2019 16:23 (three months 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 (three months 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 (three months ago) link
what is the strainer for? for seeds from a lemon for instance?
― L'assie (Euler), Friday, 1 November 2019 17:55 (three months ago) link
1. put your ingredients in the pint glass2. add ice3. stir until chilled4. strain into a chilled cocktail glass
― call all destroyer, Friday, 1 November 2019 17:59 (three months 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 (three months 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 (three months 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 (three months 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 (three months 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 (three months 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 (three months ago) link
I've only tried with lighter lager-ish beers though
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 (three months ago) link
― britain's secret sauce (seandalai), Friday, 1 November 2019 23:36 (three months 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 (three months 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 (three months ago) link
This thread is akin to the floyd - rules!
― one charm and one antiup quark (outdoor_miner), Friday, 8 November 2019 02:38 (three months ago) link
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 (two months ago) link
you should make my favorite cocktail that has zucca: https://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/2011/05/throw-gun-2.html
― call all destroyer, Sunday, 8 December 2019 04:25 (two months 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: https://chicagoist.com/2014/03/24/behind_the_stick_familiarity_brings.php
(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 (two months 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 (two months 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 (two months ago) link