that’s amaro

The tra­di­tional Ital­ian liqueur is find­ing new life at a bar near you

ELLE (Australia) - - First Look -

IF YOU THINK CARB-LOAD­ING on Uber Eats’ finest pasta while scrolling through your Capri hol­i­day #TBTS is akin to eat­ing like the Ital­ians do, think again. It’s time to em­brace the di­ges­tif – an al­co­holic drink con­sumed in Italy af­ter din­ner and in­tended to aid di­ges­tion. The Ital­ians’ bev­er­age of choice with which to do so? Amaro.

While the word trans­lates lit­er­ally to “bit­ter” in Ital­ian, there’s noth­ing to be mad about when it comes to the de­li­cious, syrupy spirit. Not to be con­fused with amaretto, amari (the plu­ral of amaro) is the name given to bit­ter herbal tinc­tures, of­ten with flo­ral and cit­rus notes, and usu­ally en­joyed neat or on the rocks. Cam­pari and Ap­erol are tech­ni­cally amari, but there are count­less vari­a­tions from all over Italy, and plenty other in­spired ver­sions be­ing made else­where (like our own Ade­laide Hills Dis­tillery’s The Bit­ter Or­ange; or Bri­tish brand Stel­la­cello’s Amaro Lon­don, which has just landed in Aus­tralia).

For a start­ing point, try Amaro Mon­tene­gro. The palat­able crowd favourite has notes of or­ange peel, nut­meg and cin­na­mon, plus it’s light in colour and flavour. Amaro Nonino is also a good en­try-level amari. Can’t bring your­self to drink it straight?

Or­der an Amer­i­cano (Cam­pari with sweet ver­mouth and soda wa­ter).

Amid its ex­ten­sive list of amari, Syd­ney bar Bis­tecca (bis­tecca.com.au) does a grown-up take on the “spi­der”, with Fer­net Branca Amaro, cola and ice-cream.

Matt Bax, owner of Mel­bourne’s Bar Amer­i­cano (baramer­i­cano.com), is an Amari fan be­cause of the “mag­i­cal way it re­lieves the ef­fects of gluttony”. The tiny laneway bar heroes an amaro of the week, and even bot­tles their own ver­sion, the Amaro Amer­i­cano.

If you’re look­ing for some­thing more com­plex, he rec­om­mends Floren­tine per­fume house Of­fic­ina Pro­fumo Far­ma­ceu­tica di Santa Maria Novella’s range of amari. “For some­thing spe­cial, try their Elisir di China. I also love ev­ery­thing [Ital­ian dis­tillers] Nar­dini make. You’ll find their charm­ing lit­tle bar and store perched upon the fa­mous Ponte Vec­chio bridge. It’s about as good as any­where to sip on a glass of amaro.” Sa­luti!

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