Smokin’ Chet Baker: the time is right for more amari in your glass

Colder days are here. It’s an unpopular opinion, I know, to prefer the colder weather; personally I’d be happy to see temperatures dipping down to below zero. And though I’m fond of a Daiquiri or seven regardless of the month, what winter affords is the chance to sample the spice and the richer, darker flavours the spirits world offers us.

It’s a time when we break out the whisky (whether it’s spelled with an ‘e’ or without), and it’s my preferred time for a dose or two amari.

It’s a category of booze of which I’m still only scraping the surface; I’m a fan of the usual suspects, your Brancas and your Montenegros, and more than partial to a shot of Campari among friends.

But there’s a whole world of amari still out there, and that’s what I’m looking for the next few months — just to cover Italy alone is going to take a good amount of tasting.

But I also love the fact that when we’re staging our Indie Spirits Tasting events around the country — Perth, we’re coming to you next month— we’re beginning to see more homegrown amari on the tables and on the pour. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve seen an Australian Negroni on bar menus, with Applewood Distillery’s Okar or Adelaide Hills Distillery’s The Italian performing the amari role. And I’ll certainly be mixing up this cocktail. The star turn is taken by Angostura di Amaro, and, as someone introduced to the shot of Angostura bitters many years ago (and who is quite fond of it), this cocktail really allows it to shine.

Smokin’ Chet Baker

  • 40 ml spiced rum
  • 20 ml honey water (1:1 or try Monin’s Agave Syrup instead)
  • 20 ml Angostura di Amaro
  • cinnamon smoke
  1. Stir ingredients well with ice.
  2. Strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass.
  3. Garnish with cinnamon smoke.

Recipe by Kevin Peters, The Ghost of Alfred Felton.

What’s in the drink?
Angostura di Amaro
Bottled at 35% ABV, Amaro di Angostura is a deep amber colour, with aromas of cinnamon, cacao and Angostura bitters.
Proximo Australia

Monin Agave Syrup
This organic syrup from Monin is made from premium ingredients and designed to dissolve quickly when mixing with other ingredients.
Stuart Alexander