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 (one week ago) Permalink
All of the bottle labels are so pretty.
― Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 15:44 (one week ago) Permalink
― sleeve, Friday, 11 January 2019 15:55 (one week ago) Permalink
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 (one week ago) Permalink
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 (one week ago) Permalink
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 (one week ago) Permalink
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 (one week ago) Permalink
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 (one week ago) Permalink
cynar is just so good for everything. And not expensive.
― Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 16:44 (one week ago) Permalink
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 (one week ago) Permalink
(Guess I should've said "the *other* ones I have at home," because I always have Cynar.)
― jaymc, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:02 (one week ago) Permalink
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 (one week ago) Permalink
lol, a suicide* for grownups. Would try.
― If Your Site Mod Vomits (Do This Every Day) (WmC), Friday, 11 January 2019 17:12 (one week ago) Permalink
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 (one week ago) Permalink
xpost, ha they should make an amaro solera system with that.
― Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:16 (one week ago) Permalink
This is a pretty good cheat sheet:https://kindredcocktails.com/info/amaro
So are these posts:https://inuakena.com/spirit-reviews/amaro-101-an-introduction-to-italian-amari/https://inuakena.com/spirit-reviews/amaro-102-beyond-basic-bitters/https://inuakena.com/spirit-reviews/amaro-103-advanced-amari/https://inuakena.com/spirit-reviews/amaro-104-continuing-education/
Also see the book Amaro by Brad Thomas Parsons.
― jaymc, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:17 (one week ago) Permalink
I wonder if everything in Italy now is exported.
― Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:19 (one week ago) Permalink
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 (one week ago) Permalink
Becherovka is delicious and tastes like Christmas tbf.
― ShariVari, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:23 (one week ago) Permalink
a Danish bitter liqueur whose name escapes me
― jaymc, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:24 (one week ago) Permalink
Me: You know what Unicum is made from?Wife (sighs, has heard me make this joke a dozen times): WhatMe: Unicorn cum
― jaymc, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:26 (one week ago) Permalink
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 (one week ago) Permalink
Tastes like xmas like speculoos or like pine?
thx for the links jaymc!
― Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:30 (one week ago) Permalink
Unicum has a bottle that looks like someone graduated from wearing drakkar noir.
― Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:32 (one week ago) Permalink
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 (one week ago) Permalink
"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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
Just sipped on a bit of it, neat
― jaymc, Friday, 11 January 2019 18:22 (one week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
should have been THICK mouthfeel up there
― call all destroyer, Friday, 11 January 2019 20:06 (one week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
I really want to try this shot and I don't have either of those things.
― Yerac, Friday, 11 January 2019 21:55 (one week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
Did you enjoy the book?
― Yerac, Saturday, 12 January 2019 00:41 (one week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
tbh cocktail use is my main interest here, altho I drink Fernet Branca straight
― sleeve, Saturday, 12 January 2019 02:00 (one week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
VP we will be around all Feb. so we can have an amari tasting then.
― Yerac, Saturday, 12 January 2019 13:06 (one week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 week ago) Permalink
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 (six days ago) Permalink
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 (six days ago) Permalink
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 (five days ago) Permalink
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 (five days ago) Permalink
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 (five days ago) Permalink
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 (five days ago) Permalink
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 (five days ago) Permalink
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 (five days ago) Permalink
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 (five days ago) Permalink
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 (five days ago) Permalink
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 (five days ago) Permalink
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 (five days ago) Permalink