Cocktails with a bracing touch of the bitter.
If you enjoyed Monica Larner’s feature on Italy’s amaros, you may also enjoy cocktails made by dashing the spirit into cocktails.
In general, mixologists use amaros with a light hand, employing them to add a complementary bitter or herbal edge to drinks, letting other spirits and flavors take center stage.
Courtesy of Employees Only, New York, New York
This apéritif was inspired by the classic Negroni cocktail. Here, the amaro with a beautiful spice profile, Meletti, takes the place of Campari.
1¼ ounces Plymouth gin
1¼ ounces Meletti amaro
1¼ ounces Punt e Mes sweet vermouth
1 orange twist, for garnish
Pour all the liquid ingredients into a mixing glass. Add large cold ice cubes and stir for 40 revolutions. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Reprinted with permission from Speakeasy: Classic Cocktails Reimagined by Jason Kosmas & Dushan Zaric, © 2010. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
Courtesy of Del Posto, New York, New York
The drink is an original invention of Del Posto barman Fabio Raffaelli. Del Posto offers a noteworthy amaro tasting (guest’s choice of three).
2 ounces Aperol
1 ounce Cynar artichoke amaro
1 ounce Solerno blood orange liqueur
1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
Splash fresh squeezed orange juice
Zest of lemon, lime and orange, for garnish.
Pour all of the liquors and juices into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled highball glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with citrus peels.
Courtesy of Eastern Standard, Boston, Massachusetts
At Eastern Standard, known for its culinary-influenced cocktails, bartender Bob McCoy uses Santa Maria al Monte, flavored with bitter orange peel and ginseng, in this richly flavored drink. (Home bartender note: Try subbing Bourbon for date-infused whiskey for a similar effect and orange or other citrus bitters for the ginger bitters.)
2 ounces house-infused date whiskey
½ ounce Santa Maria Al Monte amaro
½ ounce rock candy syrup (such as Trader Vic’s)
2 dashes ginger bitters
Stir all ingredients together with ice. Strain into a chilled lowball glass filled with fresh ice and garnish with an orange twist.
Courtesy of Marcelo Nascimento, Lucky 13 Cocktail Co., Austin, Texas
This drink, featuring the minty bitter Averna amaro, took top honors in a “Perfect Manhattan” cocktail contest sponsored by Woodford Reserve. Home bartender note: Creole Shrubb is a spiced orange liqueur made from rhum agricole; another orange liqueur may be substituted, though you’ll miss the spice that adds the “voodoo” element.
½ bar spoon of pink peppercorns
2½ ounces Woodford Reserve Bourbon
½ ounces Amaro Averna
½ ounces Clément Créole Shrubb
Blood orange slices, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker, crush peppercorns with the back of a bar spoon. Add the other ingredients and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with skewered blood orange segments.
To read the sweet truths of the Italian bitter, click here.