When the moon hits the sky like a big pizza pie, that’s amaro…
Amaro isn’t just a punny fill in for amore. Amaro is a bittersweet digestif that is the final touch to close a delicious meal. It’s sort of like the last shot of a really incredible film, completing the sensory experience with a memorable touch that arouses pleasure with purpose.
Some of the finest traditions of drinking have come into fashion again, such as artisanal bitters, which have been rediscovered and expanded upon with new flavors. Amaro is in the same boat, or should we say gondola in this case. Unlike bitters, amaro does not need to be used with caution in tiny doses. Amaro can be used as a base for the cocktail, providing depth in whichever flavor best complements your meal.
Amaros come like relationships: some are intense, some are bittersweet, while others are precious. Here are a few favorites to get started.
Amaro Nonino comes from the land of Fuili, in northern Italy. A complex blend of herbs, spices and roots including saffron, licorice, rhubarb, sweet and bitter orange and more, this amaro will make your guests amorous. On the intensity scale, this drink is softer and paler than most amari (the plural of amaro). Aged for five years in oak barrels, this reddish digestif is the perfect amaro to get your feet wet.
Like bitters, amaro is a blend of intense earthy flavors traditionally made to smooth the digestive process. So it would only be natural that one of the oldest of bitters makers, Angostura, would decide to take a swing at amaro. Amaro Angostura is a less concentrated version of their bitters with a lush and exotic feel. Some say it tastes like Christmas in a glass with flavors such as cinnamon, dark chocolate, and notes of licorice.
The Gigi Hadid of amari, Fernet Branca is today’s trendiest choice. Intense and medicinal, this herbal liqueur is famous for its origin in Milan. Like the best liqueurs, only a select few know the original formula, a trade secret known only to the Fernet Branca president, Niccolo, who is said to personally measure out the aromatics during the production process. If you want to try the o.g. amaro, this is the one to find on the shelves.
The perfect host succeeds not in cooking the perfect meal, but in spurring a series of special moments. Flowers, candles, and the perfectly crafted amaro cocktail will woo the companion of your choice at your next event. Don’t forget the Italian toast, salute!
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