Amari (plural for amaro) have a special place in our hearts here at Make & Muddle. Technically an amaro (the Italian word for “bitter”) is an herbal liqueur that is consumed after dinner as a digestif. It was originally made by Italian monks and the recipes were region specific and highly proprietary. It is made by infusing grape brandy with herbs, flowers, and other botanicals then mellowing it in barrels and sweetening before bottling. The result is a delicious, dark bittersweet liqueur that almost has the consistency of syrup. Legs for days on these beauties! It is an acquired taste but once you do, you will want several on your bar.
Using amaro in a cocktail is a great gateway to having it neat after dinner in a gorgeous glass. Sweet enough to count as dessert, bitter enough to not be cloying, complex enough to round out the dinner.
This recipe happened one day when I had no vermouth at the house and really wanted a Manhattan. It started with just the Ramazzotti (lovely cola and chocolate notes), but needed the grounding that Montenegro Amaro offers with its baking spices and citrus.
3 oz Bourbon
.75 oz Ramazzotti
.75 oz Montenegro Amaro
Dash Orange bitters
Orange peel for garnish
Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into an old fashioned glass with ice. Garnish with orange twist.