An Expert Primer on Amaro, the Iconic After-Dinner Drink

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Hello InsideHook readers. Wondercade House Bartender Jonathan Lind is back to give you tipple tips. It sounded dirty, but I’m fine with it. I don’t know about you, but I had the absolute handinger of the holiday season. I desperately need a digestive system or two.

What is the digestive system (or French, digestif), can you ask? It’s an after-meal drink, from sambuca to cognac, that soothes the stomach and soothes an overworked digestive tract. …or at least, it’s the perfect, low-evidence way to take it easy later in the night. increase.

For me, amaro (“amaro” singular, “amali” plural) is the perfect end to any meal. Its low alcohol content and even more bitterness (“amaro” means “bitter” in Italian) helps keep my mind energized. A sensation before heading back to the hustle and bustle of NYC. Although belonging to the “after-dinner drink” family, Amari represents itself a large collection of rather syrupy liqueurs, all of which are low sugar tolerance (most of the time), bitter (always) and generally They share a common trait of being generally strong in flavor. Spices and orange zest (almost always). Although it may be seen as an ingredient in cocktails, it was originally manufactured to be consumed as a stand-alone beverage. We recommend pouring and garnishing with an orange twist.

But which one do I drink? do not be afraid. Never leave you completely without guidance. These are an amaro or three suggestions for your bar at home, along with some flavor notes and pairing advice.

Amaro Montenegro

This Amaro hails from Bologna and has been a bartending staple for the past decade. It has a myriad of botanicals and a rich taste, but the nose has a strong scent of grapefruit and rose. One of my personal favorite aspects of this Amaro is his distinct character. Not enough Bitter…at least compared to other Amari. Montenegro is an absolute ally for Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on freshness and flavor. Think proper tacos al pastor. Bonus points are awarded for the good combination of Montenegro and mezcal. (It could very well be in the bartender’s top 5 favorite shots.)

Amaro Aberna

Originating in Sicily, this is one of the delicious southern amaris I have had the pleasure of eating. A delicious amaro with a strong orange and caramel scent and a pleasantly light syrupy bitterness. Averna is one of my favorite him to finish a bright and sour meal. Think pasta, fried foods, and seafood with tomato sauce. (Good thing I’m hungry now.)

Elixir Nova Salus

All who enter here, give up hope! It is an amaro for those who are not good at bitterness. High in the Italian Alps, Novasalus is meant to soothe the stomach after a heavy meal. Given that Northern Italian cuisine is known for its liberal (and revelry) use of truffles, cheese and meat, this is perfect. Taken as is or with ice, it’s very delicious and complex, so give this a little time to grow. Your guests will be impressed!

Bitter CioCiaro

If I remember correctly, this was one of the first Amari I ate at Eleven Madison Park back in the day (it was work, not food; I don’t exist in that tax bracket!). A standout feature of CioCiaro is the dominant orange peel scent. This makes perfect sense given its origin (the Lazio region in central Italy)! I wouldn’t say it’s interchangeable with Averna, but I would say it’s similar in style. Sweet, slightly bitter, and very delicious. Try this after he serves a slice or two of a proper Roman pizza (known here in America as Sicilian or Grandma style).


Originally from the town of Termoli, by the sea, about halfway to the boot (does Italy look like the boot?). Cynar uses artichoke as one of his seasonings, reflecting the changing Italian terroir as he travels north. The result is a much more bitter amaro while maintaining a relatively high sugar content. Now I know what you are thinking: sugar is badWhile we don’t recommend drinking an entire bottle of Cynar (mostly due to the fact that it’s slightly less alcoholic than standard spirits), the sugar helps balance the bitterness. My favorite way to serve is to add a pinch of salt and stir over ice. If that’s not your style, have a glass after a dinner centered around Italian coastal cuisine. Generally speaking, food from a particular region is paired with a drink produced in the same region, so is Amari.)

Until next time…Cheers!

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