A little background information on the bitter-sweet digestif liqueur and cocktail recipes to start you off.
There are many brands and types of Amaro out there. Some hail from Italy, others do not. Some keep their recipes tightly guarded secrets, others proudly list their ingredients directly on the bottle. Each one will have subtle differences but the basic idea is the same.
What is Amaro?
Amaro is an after-dinner digestif. It is meant to be consumed to cap off a large meal and aid in digestion. It is commonly enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or with tonic water when being drank as a digestif, but can be mixed into cocktails as well.
How is it made?
It is made from a mixture of herbs, spices, and essential oils, varying from brand to brand. Some brands use just a few, others have a mixtures of a few dozen. They are combined with pure alcohol and water and left to infuse together for months and months.
Where does it come from?
Historically, Amaro was first made by Italian monks who gathered the ingredients that surrounded their abbeys and monasteries. They made the mixture for medicinal and healing purposes.
What does it taste like?
The nuances of flavor range from brand to brand, but most generally has a bittersweet taste. There are strong herbal and floral notes as these are used to make it. It is often described as having an almost soda-like flavor, but with a sharp taste of mint. Some brands are intensely bitter, while some are softer and sweeter. It is commonly garnished with orange to bring out any citrus as well.
To make the following cocktails, we used Amaro Lucano. This particular brand was created in 1894 in Lucania, Italy by Pasquale Vena and has been passed down through family ever since.
It has a complex flavor profile made with over 30+ tightly guarded ingredients. It is a nice balance of sweet and bitter, not leaning to strongly in either direction. The production process involves infusing all the ingredients in water and alcohol and leaving it in a sealed stainless steel container for 5 months, ensuring a top quality liqueur is created.
We chose to use Amaro Lucano with these cocktail because of its sweeter flavor complete with plenty of lemon notes.
- Ginger water (see recipe below)
- Amaro Lucano
- Simple syrup
- Lemon juice
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
- Combine the chopped ginger and water in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Allow to cool before using.
- Store the leftovers in the fridge for up to two weeks.
- 1 part Amaro Lucano
- 2 parts Black tea, cooled
- 1 part Kahlúa
- Stir together the Amaro, black tea, and Kahlúa.
- Serve over ice.