Spirit Cruises 2019 Leaderboard

Amaro Guide: Which Bitter Liqueurs to Try, and Where to Find Them

Amaro Guide: Which Bitter Liqueurs to Try, and Where to Find Them

Amaro is a kind of Italian bitter liqueur that's often consumed as a digestif, and until recently was often buried among the lists of ingredients in cocktails. (An example that has been well-known for a while, even in the U.S., is Campari.) Amari are made with a dizzying array of secret ingredients that includes herbs, fruit and a neutral base spirit; they were once prized for their medicinal qualities but eventually fell out of favor as the times changed and tastes evolved. They often have a herbaceous and bitter flavor profile that might take some getting used to, but once you start trying them, your curiosity will give way to the daring notes offered up by these liqueurs.

The cocktail scene in the past several years has happily shifted away from ubersweet cocktails to drinks featuring more complex notes, along with savory flavor profiles. Bartenders across the city and county have started to make use of more obscure brands of amaro. Unless you've tasted a particular amaro on its own, you probably wouldn't even realize the flavor it was adding to your glass.

You can find amari on menus across Philadelphia as standalone drinks — Vernick, a.kitchen and Alla Spina all offer a nice collection to choose from. At Fork, a.kitchen and Vedge you can find several cocktails made with Cynar — the liqueur count artichoke as a main ingredinet and adds strong flavor, depth and a savory component to tipples.

Here's a list of several amari found at the aftorementioned bars, to help give you the courage you to explore this realm of beverages. Try them before and after your meals to add a whole new layer to your drinking and dining experience.

Cynar: A relative newcomer to the scene compared to some of it's counterparts that have been around for hundreds of years, this liqueur features bold herbaceous flavors. It can be consumed as both an aperitif or digestif, on it's own or topped with soda or OJ. Order up a Negroni made with this instead of Campari — it's called a Cin-Cyn (get it at Vernick) — and it's a really delicious take on the classic cocktail (16.5% ABV).

Cocchi Americano: This is an Italian fortified wine flavored with cinchona bark, citrus peel, spices and other botanicals, giving it a bitter bite. It is often used by bartenders as a substitute for Lillet in cocktails like the Corpse Reviver No. 2 (16.5% ABV).

Zucca: This bittersweet amaro's base ingredient is rhubarb. It was often  prescribed as a digestive aid, and the rhubarb is said to be good for the liver (16% ABV).

Averna: A blend of herbs, roots and citrus rinds, this sweet, thick liqueur has a gentle herbal bitterness and a higher alcohol content that makes it another great digestif to indulge in (29% ABV).

Ramazotti: Created in 1815 by Ausano Ramazzotti, this was Italy's first bitter liqueur. Its recipe of thirty-three carefully selected herbs and spices is known only to three people. The flavor profile includes notes of orange peel, cardamom and cinnamon (30% ABV).

Fernet Branca: One of the trendiest amari around these days, select bars even dedicate a tap to this spirit (Lemon Hill is one). It's more sharply bitter than others, and drinking it straight requires a bit of practice.

Nardini
: This luscious and full-bodied liqueur isinfused with peppermint and bitter orange. We recommend ordering this digestif during your dessert course if you're on a date; the peppermint really stands out and the flavor profile will leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed (31% ABV).

Amaro Nonino: Grain alcohol is aged in oak barrels for five years and infused with herbs, ingredients for this amaro include caramelized sugar, bitter orange, liquorice, rhubarb, saffron, sweet orange and tamarind, among others. It is served chilled as an aperitif with a slice of orange, or on it's own as a digestif (35% ABV).


Tags: Spirits
Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Philly's Best Happy Hours: Tuna Bar's $4 Sake, $7 Wine and Cocktails, & $4 Sushi Rolls

Philly's Best Happy Hours: Tuna Bar's $4 Sake, $7 Wine and Cocktails, & $4 Sushi Rolls

This time, we headed over to Tuna Bar, Old City's premier upscale sushi spot complete with a gorgeous interior...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 16, 2019
A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A new, high-end blend of Jack Daniel's whiskey, known as Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold, which was previously only ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 15, 2019
Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2019

Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2019

Whether it's to enjoy the first warm breezes of spring or the unexpected sunshine of a crisp day in fall, Philadelphia is full of great places to drin...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 11, 2019
SPONSORED
The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

Here it is - the definitive list of Philadelphia's best cocktail bars....read more ›

by Drink Philly Dec 13, 2017
Rouge Reopens with New Look & Cocktail Menu Created by Hop Sing Laundromat

Rouge Reopens with New Look & Cocktail Menu Created by Hop Sing Laundromat

Rouge, the Philadelphia mainstay located right off of Rittenhouse Square, has undergone a complete renovation ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 10, 2019
The StarChefs Rising Star Awards Will Honor the 2019 Standouts of Philadelphia's Culinary Scene & Bar Industry With a Gala, April 16

The StarChefs Rising Star Awards Will Honor the 2019 Standouts of Philadelphia's Culinary Scene & Bar Industry With a Gala, April 16

On Tuesday, April 16, StarChefs, the premier industry magazine, will host a gala and food tasting to celebrate...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 10, 2019
Rittenhouse's a.bar Launches New Drink Menu with Affordable Food

Rittenhouse's a.bar Launches New Drink Menu with Affordable Food

Rittenhouse's a.bar, which shares part of its space with its sister restaurant a.kitchen, is creating a new identity with a brand new menu of small pl...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 10, 2019
Travel Back in Time at The Bourse's 80s Themed Karaoke Night, April 12

Travel Back in Time at The Bourse's 80s Themed Karaoke Night, April 12

Old City's upscale food hall, The Bourse, will travel back to the 1980s on Friday, April 12 from 5 PM - 8 PM w...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 10, 2019
Where to Host a Private Event in Philadelphia

Where to Host a Private Event in Philadelphia

Whether it's for the holidays or you have a special birthday coming up, Philadelphia has some amazing options when it comes to event spaces. ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Nov 26, 2018
Philadelphia Distilling is Hosting an Enchanted Pop-Up Bar, The Betsy, to Celebrate Bluecoat Elderflower Gin, April 11-14

Philadelphia Distilling is Hosting an Enchanted Pop-Up Bar, The Betsy, to Celebrate Bluecoat Elderflower Gin, April 11-14

Philadelphia Distilling is transforming their fourth floor space into a secret garden from Thursday, April 11 ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 5, 2019
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close