With the current cocktail craze, Amari is enjoying a resurgence. Malachy Duffy shares his favourites.
About halfway through my first trans-atlantic voyage, I awoke one morning feeling less than shipshape, which had nothing to do with the ocean swell, I’d simply overindulged. Fortunately, one of my traveling companions was David Outerbridge, the author of The Hangover Handbook. He prescribed a Fernet-Branca, which he said I’d find at the superyacht bar. It was bitter, but it did the job.
And that was my introduction to the whole class of amari. The name is Italian for “bitter,” but drinks such as these have been made throughout Europe — and now in the United States as well. They are akin to bitters, the concoctions used to add flavour and depth to cocktails, and are made with botanical elements — aromatics, spices, citrus zest — infusing a neutral alcohol. Like bitters, they’ve become in vogue thanks to the current craze for cocktails, and the new breed of bartenders dedicated to crafting drinks with previously passed-over ingredients. Here are some of my favourites.
Dating back to 1919, this is a relative newcomer. Brothers Silvio and Luigi Barbieri created this vibrant orange potion with the belief that there was room for a slightly sweet, lower-alcohol amaro. These characteristics make it a gentle introduction to the world of amari. It is the basis for one of my favourite warm-weather cocktails, the Aperol Spritz.