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Apr 26, 2011 09:21 PM

Can anyone comment on these amari?

So I just purchased 4 bottles online that I basically took a chance on. Meaning I have not tried any of them and couldn't find much or any information on them either. The little info I could find was very vague. Having a little buyers remorse.

The bottles that are on the way:
Ponche Abruzzese-Jannamico or I believe Super Punch
Amaro Lucano
Amaro Cora
Jannapunch Amaro or Jannamaro D'Abruzzo

thanks for any help

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  1. The only one of the four I've tried is the Lucano.
    I quite enjoyed it, though it was sweeter than I had anticipated. Nor did I taste any gentian (which is a flavor I often encounter in amari).

    I haven't tried any of the others, but if you could post a report once you've tasted I'd be eager to read it. The sheer number of amari - and their limited distribution - does make it feel like a shot in the dark when ordering. What website did you order from?

    1 Reply
    1. re: michaelmas

      I will post back for sure and thanks for the info! I ordered from Mount Carmel Wines & Spirits.
      It sure can be a shot in the dark when it comes to ordering, but I have been mostly lucky!

    2. *** Old Thread Dredge! ***

      What does a typical amaro taste like? Can it be compared to anything?

      8 Replies
      1. re: BiscuitBoy

        Amaro simply means bitter in Italian. Or in French, amer. It would be difficult to characterize them beyond being bitter (to varying degrees) and generally sweet.

        The most popular amaro is Campari, a bright red aperitif. It is full of bright sunny citrus-influenced flavors. The bitterness generally takes some getting used to. I found that the easiest way is to mix it with an ample about of soda or seltzer water and add some acid (lemon or lime). You might start with a light pink drink and work your way up. Some like it mixed with orange juice. Once you've acquired the taste, you'll want more and varied amari (plural of amaro). If you like a gin and tonic, use gin, soda water, Campari to taste, and lime. Delicious.

        Another easy-to-like amaro is Aperol, an alarmingly-bright orange orange-flavored aperitif. It is less bitter than Campari. I find it has a flavor similar to orange soda pop, but of course bitter. I don't care for the flavor alone, but many have grown to love amari through Aperol. When mixed with Campari, the result is rather like bitter grapefruit. Again, use plenty of soda and citrus.

        Many of the other amari have pie-spice rich brown flavors. These are generally drunk after dinner as digestivi. They, however, make great cocktail ingredients. For example, many Manhattan variations have a brown amaro as an ingredient -- Averna, Ramazzotti, Nonino, etc.

        Then there are the black diamond, authorized personnel only amari. Fernet Branca has a cult following. It has been described as tasting like the ashtray of a Newport Light smoker. It is shockingly bitter and menthol flavored. Other bold amari are less well known, such as the Latvian Black Balsams or Hungarian Unicum (which isn't imported into the US). My friend has a little ceramic bottle from German that excites and scares me.

        If you like bitter things -- or think you might grow to like them -- there are many enthusiasts here to help guide you. Most of my favorite cocktails contain some sort of bitter ingredient -- either an amer/amaro or a bitter aromatized wine (like vermouth and similar).

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        1. re: EvergreenDan

          Where do you feel cynar falls among these? With the brown pie-spice? I just tried the three I have (Aperol, Ramazzotti, Cynar) mixed just with club soda, the cynar is a good bit more bitter than the Ramazzotti.

          1. re: ncyankee101

            oh man, that cynar is tough to love!

            1. re: BiscuitBoy

              I actually rather like it. Decided to have a little on the rocks and it has the most interesting flavor of any of the amari I have. Of course I tend to like palate wrecking things like Islay Scotch and Mezcal. The taste is probably going to stay with me for a couple hours.

              1. re: ncyankee101

                Try a squeeze of lemon - I think it brightens up most amari and makes them more accessible.

            2. re: ncyankee101

              I would classify Cynar as an aperitif. It is much ligher in sugar and lacks the spicy flavor of digestivi, despite being brown in color. It is delightful on the rocks with some lemon (and soda, if you want). The lemon really complements the savory flavor from the artichokes.

              Cynar works well in many cocktails and has an affinity for whiskey (particularly rye) and rum in the same way that Campari and Aperol like gin.

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            3. re: EvergreenDan

              ah, Campari I know...that's what came to mind when I heard "digestif" in a recent NYTimes segment. (which had you mixing it with a rye whiskey) - Thanks EgD

              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                Campari is usually drunk before dinner (aperitivo, or aperitif in French). Ramazzotti or Averna would be a good place to start if you're interested in the brown spiced type of amari.

                At some point, Cynar may become very easy to love. ;)

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