Whether you’re looking for a drink to kickstart your night, to prep your palate, or to digest your dinner, a neat little amaro or glass of aromatised wine will get the job done.
And an amaro or a bittered aromatised wine added to your cocktails? Well, they’ll get the job of tasting good done as well.
The fact of the matter is, a little bit of bitterness is a vital component in making a great drink. You want to hit all the good spots — a little sweet, a touch of sourness, and a little bitter on the back of the palate to lengthen the finish.
We‘ve got four of our favourite cocktails here that all use a touch of bitterness to get the job done, from a little hit in the Twentieth Century, to an all out monster of a recipe in the Eeyore’s Requiem (you’ll be surprised at how well balanced the drink is).
First though, take a look at some choice options for the back bar.
Fernet-Branca ages for at least one year in oak barrels and has a rich brown colour with amber hues. Its aroma is intense, penetrating, balanced and rich. Think Spirits
Amaro di Angostura
Bottled at 35% ABV, Amaro di Angostura is a deep amber colour, offering aromas of cinnamon, dark chocolate and unmistakable Angostura aromatic bitters. The flavours explode on the tongue with warm cinnamon and liquorice Proximo Spirits
Ideal in drinks like the Twentieth Century and the James Bond classic, the Vesper, this new Bianco Americano comes from Giancarlo Mancino. They take a blend of aromatic Italian white wines and spike it with Bergamot, rhubarb, Roman wormwood, mandarin, angostura bark, chiretta, gentian, lavender, cinchona bark, vanilla, aloe, and cascarilla bark. Neat Spirits
Varnelli Amaro Sibilla
Amaro Sibilia hails from Italy’s Marche region, and employs a range of herbs, roots and and barks that have been made over fire, using honey for the sweetener. There’s a strong, tannic bitterness here, with characters of chestnuts, dried fruits, vanilla and coffee on the palate. Enoteca Sileno
Jagermeister is a blend of some 56 natural botanicals; these botanicals are made into four distinct macerations, and aged for up to a year in oak. Brown-Forman
A herbal liqueur from Germany that uses among its many roots and herbs buckbean, lemongrass, star anise, galangal, ginger, gentian and wormwood to flavour its spirit. Alpen Liquor
Adapted from a recipe credited to Toby Maloney, The Violet Hour, Chicago
Recipe by Zack Morgan