Not quite wine, not quite spirits, but the mellow best of both.

As the only wine-based amaro in the U.S. market, Cardamaro leads one to wonder whether to keep a bottle in the liquor cabinet or the wine cellar.
The recipe originated with seventh-generation Piedmont vintner Giovanni Bosca, who infused Moscato wine with cardoon and blessed thistle (relatives of the artichoke family), then aged it in new oak for six months. All this yields a softer product than most brusquely bitter amari, with intriguing nutty, Sherried and spiced flavors—like a shortcut to mulled wine.

This apéritif (or digestif, some suggest, as it’s on the sweet side) is relatively new to the U.S., and it’s quickly finding fans in the bartending community here. At a mild 17% abv and priced under $20, it’s ideal for at-home sipping. Try it in a recipe like the Harvest: equal parts Cardamaro and apple brandy, with a few dashes of Angostura Bitters.

Harvest Cocktail
1½ ounces Cardamaro
1½ ounces apple brandy
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a coupe glass.

Published on December 7, 2011

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