My Friends

Arrow Up

Arrow Up
Arrow Down
,
  • Mon
    22
  • Tue
    23
  • Wed
    24
  • Thu
    25
  • Fri
    26
  • Sat
    27
  • Sun
    28
David Mitchell Sep 22, 2014 The author of Cloud Atlas and Book Catapult creator Seth Marko will discuss Mitchell's new novel, The Bone Clocks, about a fifteen-year-old psychic girl trying to solve multiple mysterious phenomena. Ticket price include a copy of the novel. 48 other events on Monday, September 22
 
Check 1, Check 2 | Music & nightlife
Band plays live for first time in 20 years
Concerts
Bands coming to town and just-announced shows
Film
New indie from Lenny Abrahamson tops our coverage of movies screening around town
Editorial
Lying signature gatherers add to undemocratic referendum process

 

 
Log in to use your Facebook account with
San Diego CityBeat

Login With Facebook Account

Recent Activity on San Diego CityBeat
 
Home / Articles / Eats / Cocktail Tales /  That's amari
. . . .
Friday, Feb 07, 2014

That's amari

Learning to love bitter liqueur, one amaro at a time

By Kelly Davis

I considered writing about romantic drinking spots for this column, but I'm utterly unromantic. I have, however, been thinking a lot about a type of spirit that sounds romantic: amaro (plural "amari"). The word is lovely to say, but the thing itself is bitter on the tongue, depending on where it hits—amaro, in fact, means "bitter" in Italian. On their own, amari are drunk as aperitivos, to stimulate appetite or, more often, due to their herbal properties, served post-meal, as digestivos, to settle the stomach.

Amari can make for tough drinking for folks who prefer cocktails that go down smooth or who simply don't want bitter flavors lurking in their drink. It's not unusual to see an otherwise impressive craft-cocktail menu without a single amaro.

But, time and again, I find that the cocktails I dig the most—the ones that have the most complexity and sophistication—contain an amaro. Last month, for instance, I wrote about North Park's Coin-Op, where my fave cocktail was the double-amaro'd Best Bang for the Buck (Averna, Fernet Branca, fresh ginger, lime and soda water). Averna is a more mild amaro while Fernet is, well, Fernet. Countless cocktail experts will tell you that when used well, an amaro can do for a drink what a perfect wine pairing does for a meal.

Here are some amari that make regular appearances on bar shelves, grouped by flavor profile: Citrus or fruit (Averna, Aperol, Zucca, Nonino, Montenegro, Gran Classico, Campari), herbal or medicinal (Fernet, Cynar), vermouth-y (Cardamaro, Punt e Mes), cinnamon (Becherovka).  If you're on the hunt for amaro-containing cocktails, ease into it with something like Polite Provisions' Veronica Rose (Aperol, rose-petal gomme, sparkling wine). Hit a little harder with Noble Experiment's Cobble Hill (rye, dry vermouth, Amaro Montenegro, cucumber). Sycamore Den doesn't shy away from amari, either. On its current menu is the amaro-centric Tattie-bogle (scotch, Aperol, Amaro Nonino and angostura bitters).

In the same way some folks avoid IPAs while others seek out the most bitter beers, amari aren't for everyone. But, they have range and variety enough to at least spark some appreciation—if, at least, to help that big dinner digest a little easier.


Email kellyd@sdcitybeat.com or follow her on Twitter at @citybeatkelly.




 
 
 
 
 
 
Close
Close
Close