Amaro, meaning “bitter” in Italian, certainly lives up to its namesake. A liqueur made by infusing a base spirit with myriad botanicals like fruits, roots, barks and herbs, amari (plural for amaro) can have a depth of bittersweet flavor unlike any other spirit.
Traditionally, amari are served neat or over ice, but there are plenty of creative ways to enjoy them. For a simple afternoon cocktail, amaro with tonic and an expressed orange peel is refreshingly bitter and sweet, a solid recommendation for someone who loves gin and tonics but wants to try something new. Amaro also pairs well with coke or ginger ale for a palate that craves something on the sweeter side. Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice for the perfect balance of sweet, bitter and tart. Many Europeans drink amaro with orange juice, but it also blends well in coffee and espresso drinks.
Amari can be used in a variety of classic cocktails as well. Amaro Nonino, for instance, is a lighter, more citrusy version of the spirit that can replace curaçao in a Cosmo or sweet vermouth in a Manhattan for bolder flavor.
Fernets are their own branch of the amaro family, distinguished by their signature mint and anise flavor.
Jordan’s Top 5:
- Amaro Nonino
- Zucca Rubarbaro Amaro
Classic Drinks with Amaro:
Drinks to highlight the bittersweet flavors:
- Any of them, over ice, with soda or sparkling water
Red Hook Criterium (Amaro by BT Parsons)
- 1 ½ oz Zucco Rabarbaro Amaro
- ½ oz dry gin
- 1 ½ oz fresh grapefruit juice
- ½ oz fresh lemon juice
- ½ oz simple syrup
- Soda water
- 1 ½ oz Amaro Nonino
- ¾ oz Copper and Kings Brandy
- ¼ oz Amaro Meletti
- Orange twist, stirred in old fashioned glass with one large rock
- 4.5 oz Brut prosecco
- 2.5 oz Aperol
- 1 Lime wheel
- 1 ozClub soda