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Sep 2, 2011 07:45 AM

interesting Amari Cocktails

Having fell in love with amari this summer, I'm interested to hear what other cocktails are tried and true aside from the quintessential Negroni and Aperol Spritz. One caveat -- the ingredients need to be relatively easy to find locally. I can get my hands on Aperol, Campari, Cynar, and Ramazzotti but that's about it I think. Don't have access to many different kinds of gin or vermouth.

Thanks. <3

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  1. One cocktail I have had at a party that featured Campari was a Champagne Punch, with champagne, blood orange juice, and Campari. Unfortunately I cannot tell you the ratios as I did not think to ask the host. Considering that it was a large bowl-ful, I might guess:

    1 bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine
    1 cup of Campari
    500ml of blood orange juice

    The Berlioni:
    1 oz dry gin
    2/3 oz Cynar
    1/2 oz Noilly Prat dry vermouth

    Choke Artist:
    1 oz Cynar
    1 oz Reposado tequila
    1/2 oz fino sherry
    5 dashes orange bitters
    Orange twist garnish


    3 Replies
    1. re: SpokaneFoodLover

      The punch sounds fantastic. Is it mildly bitter with the Campari? Not wondering for me since I love the bitterness but we're having a party next week and I've been thinking of doing a punch. It's a drinking group but I doubt many of them are accustomed to bitters.

      Choke Artist also sounds great. I don't have orange bitters, though...

      1. re: isadorasmama

        Maybe it's your job to educate them ;)

        I bring cocktails to a quarterly "foodie group" dinners. Unless you know everyone is on-board, you might bring two cocktails -- one bitter and one not. I have tasted the punch, but with 1/6 Campari I'd guess that it is mildly-to-moderately bitter.

        1. re: isadorasmama

          The punch is mildly bitter, but the balance of flavors works well in this drink. The hint of sweetness in the Campari, combined with the lucious juice and sparkling wine, really works wonders on the palate.

      2. <3 <3 <3

        I am a *hugh* fan of cocktails containing amari -- both aperitivo and digestivos. You have probably the most important amari, save for Fernet which is in a different class (due largely to the huge menthol hit).

        I would suggest you try the Paper Airplane, one of my most favorite cocktails.

        Paper Airplane
        by Adapted by Toby Maloney, Violet Hour, Chicago, IL from Paper Plane by Sammy Ross, Milk & Honey, NYC

        3/4 oz Bourbon
        3/4 oz Amaro, Ramazzotti
        3/4 oz Campari
        3/4 oz Lemon juice

        Shake, strain, rocks, lowball.

        Don't be afraid to use a high-quality high-proof bourbon, although it tastes great with something like Jim Beam, too.

        Another idea: Assuming you can get Green Chartreuse, try The Art of Choke. Fabulous. Personally, I omit the syrup as I find it sweet enough without it.

        The Art of Choke
        by Kyle Davidson, The Violet Hour, Chicago

        1 1/4 oz Cynar
        1 oz Rum, Flor de Caña (4yr or other white rum)
        1/4 oz Green Chartreuse (Fat quarter)
        1/8 oz Rich demerara syrup 2:1
        1/8 oz Lime juice
        1 ds Angostura bitters
        1 spg Mint

        Combine liquids in mixing glass, add mint and gently muddle. Let sit 1 min. Stir, then strain into rocks glass over large ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.

        I have used a touch of Fernet when I didn't have fresh mint, although it is better with fresh mint.

        There are too many great cocktails using these bitter wonders. I suggest you spend a little time searching by amaro, e.g. Also, I wouldn't hesitate to substitute Ramazzotti for Averna, Lucano, Cio Ciaro, Meletti, Abano and other brown spicy digestivos. It won't be the same drink of course, but it will probably be darn tasty. For example, in Montreal, we could find Averna, so we ordered Paper Airplanes as above.

        If you give us a more specific request (such as a preferred base spirit, sweet vs. sour, etc), we may be able to offer some more specific suggestions.

        7 Replies
        1. re: EvergreenDan


          I'm a fan of Amaro Montenegro. With a bit of coke on the rocks, otherwise straight in a cordial glass.

          1. re: EvergreenDan

            Yes....I've been meaning to try the Paper Airplane since I've seen it heralded here by you and others.

            I can get chartreuse but it's a small fortune and when I'm stocking up on bitters and gin, etc. etc. I have a hard time dropping $70 on a liqueur I'd probably only use once and a while. Maybe I'll ask someone to buy it for me for my birthday. ;)

            The only base I don't really care for is vodka. Favorites are gin and brandy/cognac. And tequila. Get bad hangovers from rum. I love sweet and sour. Some other things I have in my cabinet that are starting to gather dust include creme de violette and marachino liquor. I also have some creme de cassis and cherry heering. Love fresh lemon juice and would like to start playing around with herbs in drinks and I'm currently aging some peach cordials I jarred a few weeks back.

            1. re: isadorasmama

              Search -- um -- some on-line cocktail database to use those things. Creme de Violette is, for me, hard to like. I keep thinking of Granny's perfume or soap. There *is* this much-better-than-expected crazy cocktail:

              Rose Window
              by Zachary Pearson

              1 1/2 oz Gin, Broker's
              1 oz Campari
              1 oz Crème de Violette, Rothman and Winter
              3/4 oz Lemon juice
              2 sli Pineapple
              1 twst Orange peel
              2 ds Orange bitters, Regans' orange bitters
              1 Egg white

              In a shaker, muddle pineapple, orange peel and bitters. Add remaining ingredients and dry shake for 45 seconds. Add ice and shake for 30 seconds. Double strain into a coupe.

              Really. It is pretty tasty, especially considering the horrifying quantity of CdV.

              You "bad hangovers" from rum, unless there were obscure poorly-distilled rum, are probably from over-consumption and dehydration. Rum is a huge and diverse spirit, one worth exploring for an adventurous enthusiasts such as yourself.

              For cassis, try a simple batida with it. I'd try 2 oz cachaca, 1 oz cassis, 1/2 oz lime to start and adjust for acid. You can do the same with Cheery Heering, but Cheery Heering is used in a great number of cocktails, both modern and classic. Now that its summery, Cassis on fresh peaches is wonderful.

              The Aviation is a good way to use some Maraschino and Creme de Violette, but Maraschino appears in lots of other drinks.

              As for Green Chartreuse, a bottle lasts a long time. Try to find a 375ml bottle, or split a 750ml with a friend. I split my first bottle thinking I would never drink it up. Then I discovered things like the Last Word and now work through at a pace such that it is reasonable to keep it in stock. That said, a 750ml is $50US here in Boston.

              Last Word
              by Frank Fogarty, Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit

              3/4 oz Gin
              3/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
              3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
              3/4 oz Lime juice

              Shake, Rocks, Lowball

              My notes: Use 1 oz gin for a slightly dryer version.

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              1. re: EvergreenDan

                Yeah, I kind of feel the same way about CdV -- and, believe it or not, Marachino Liqueur.
                I'm in PA, land of the state store and while I can get some things through the LCB, they usually have a ridiculous minimum.

                The Rose Window sounds great. Think I could get away with not using the egg white? I'm not so into flips.

                As for the rum=hangovers, I don't know what it is, other than it wasn't so much a hangover as it was NASTY headaches. It's kind of like when you have a stomach bug and throw up that pizza you just ate. Chances are you'll want to lay off pizza for some time.

                You know, I wanted to love the Aviation and I just don't. it's why I bought the CdV and Maraschino liqueur in the first place.

                The batida sounds great. I'm assuming you have info on them over on your site? No matter...I'll go check it out myself. I'm not so shabby with the google machine.

                1. re: isadorasmama

                  Try an Aviation that is very light on the Maraschino and Creme de Violette. I use 2 tsp Maraschino and 1/2 to 1 tsp CdV. I agree about Marachino. So try the Last Word when you get the Green Chartreuse. I bet you'll love it. I think our tastes are similar.

                  I'm sure you can do the Rose Window without the egg white. Still, I suggest you get over the "gross" factor. Once shaken, it adds a nice consistency and froth. It also smooths over flavors, which makes the CdV less objectionable. I don't adore the Rose Window, but I liked it, and was surprised that I liked it. BTW, the risk of illness from a fresh intact refrigerated commercial egg is quite low -- about 1:30,000. Your annual risk if you ate one raw egg every day would be 1.2%. Read more:

                  1. re: EvergreenDan

                    Ha. Yeah, it's not the ick factor of the egg. I'm a raw milk kinda girl (when I do drink milk, which isn't often) so raw eggs don't concern me. It's the fact that it's just kind of a pita. I do like the idea of it smoothing over flavors, though. I find a little simple syrup has a similar effect for less cloying/more brash liqueurs, say like...Maraschino.

                    The Last Word is probably going to have to wait until I'm at a very well-stocked bar since I can't afford a big ass bottle of the Chartreuse. That said, you've piqued my interest and will keep this drink in mind.

                    1. re: isadorasmama

                      Funny, I just got a bottle of Green Chartreuse as a birthday present as I could never quite bring myself to drop the $55. One thing that surprised me is that the Last Word I made at home tasted far more herbal than the ones I had in a bar (Russell House Tavern) so I wonder if it is common to tweak the ratios from the 1:1:1:1.

                      As far as Aviations go, I also had a similar reaction. It wasn't until I cut down the liqueurs like Dan recommended and added a little simple syrup to add back the sweetness that I found a balance I enjoyed.

          2. Our original gastropub here in ATL (Holeman & Finch), created a drink called the "Southern cola." It's basically a small lager or Coke glass with a shot of amaro (I've used Nonino and I think Luxardo), a lime-juice ice cube, and then topped with hecho en Mexico Coke.

            It's tasty and refreshing, but I feel bad for all the folks who were paying $8 a pop for them at the bar- not much booze for the buck.

            1. A half ounce of Aperol in a G&T (I like mine with 2 parts soda to 1 part tonic) makes them even more irresistable.

              6 Replies
                1. re: ncyankee101

                  I love it. What else should I be using it in?

                  1. re: buttertart

                    Do you have Absinthe? If so, make a 2 to 2.

                    Also, mixed with Campari, it creates a sort of grapefruit-like flavor. Add soda, gin, whatever, with some lemon or lime.

                    Paper Plane (with bourbon, Amaro Nonino, and lemon).

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                      1. re: buttertart

                        Sure. Skip the simple syrup and up the lemon if needed if it's too sweet. It's a very nice cocktail -- much less anise-forward than you would expect from the recipe. I first saw it in the Beta Cocktails book.

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              1. So funny how so many people will pay $40 US for a bottle of shitty Grey Goose, but there are objections to spending $50 for's got a color named for it, for Pete's sake! A dose of Green in a homemade Hot Chocolate is one of the best things life has to offer. Sounds whack, but it's lovely, especially when you get to watch the snow fall. So far as Amarro is concerned, it's fantastic with reposado tequilas and mescals. Love it as an addition to a Manhattan. Keep your vermouth in the refrigerator and your gin close to your heart

                Beautiful Vesper

                5 Replies
                1. re: BeautifulVesper

                  On the Manhattan addition BV, is it used like bitters? A dash or two or three? Or more of a main component?


                  1. re: BeautifulVesper

                    $55 here. ;)
                    The problem I have is finding a local bar that has it so I can taste and see if a bottle would be something I'd go back to frequently or if it would gather dust in the cabinet.

                    1. re: isadorasmama

                      You're in Philadelphia, I'm guessing, based on the boards you post on. I'm sure Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co would have it. It should be worth a visit in any case. (I've not been but would love to -- the place has a great reputation.)

                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                        I've been wanting to go, but it's tricky -- it would require taking a train since I'd undoubtedly be unable to drive home safely.

                        Are you close by?

                        1. re: isadorasmama

                          I'm in Boston. So you have no excuse ... get on the train and let us know how it goes!