Amaro, that bitter Italian liqueur produced in hundreds of different varieties, is popping up on bar menus all over Chicago.
At home, imbibing Italian-style is trickier. There are only so many imports available, and let's face it: Cynar on the rocks isn't going to get us through the long winter.
Problem solved. Four local bartenders were tapped by Brovo to dream up original amari for "Project Amaro 2013," a bartender-designed line produced by Washington State-based broVo Spirits. Mike Ryan (Sable), Stephen Cole (Barrelhouse Flat), Bobby Adams and Greg Miesch (both of Fion Wine & Spirits) claim one amaro each ($35), all of which are unique.
Ryan's No. 14 is a bit like sipping a chocolaty Fernet that packs a eucalyptus-like punch, while Adams' No. 13 is steeped with juniper and lemongrass, leaving a bright finish. Cole's No. 16 drinks well on its own--its sandalwood, burdock and orris roots marry with sarsaparilla for a mildly spicy sipper.
For traditional dessert-hour pours, our new go-to is Miesch's No. 15. With a base of Guatemalan cacao nibs, No. 15 is also made with bright citrus (orange, lemon) as well as milder flavors (lavender, peppermint) and has a long finish thanks to a triple-threat of spice--pink peppercorn, urfa biber (Turkish pepper) and grains of paradise, a relative of ginger that look just like black peppercorns--perfect for an after-dinner dram.
You'll never have to worry about making dessert again.
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