Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >
Oct 9, 2012 07:19 PM

Amer Nouvelle? Amer Picon?

Just saw the mention of Amer Nouvelle in another thread and since it's new to me, thought I'd toss it out to the experts and see who's tried it and what you thought. It's from Bittermen's and the things I've tried from them, albeit not that much, have been quality ingredients. That said, the proof on this is pretty low - closer to what the current European product is at than the strength of historical Amer Picon.

I've been meaning to buy another bottle of Ramazotti in the near future and make a scaled back batch of the homemade Amer Picon that Jeffrey Morganthaler came up with, but am wondering from those who really know about Amer Picon, whether the Amer Nouvelle is really a good alternative.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I think it depends on whether the caramel-richness aspect of the Picon is important to you or not. The Bittermens did not want that aspect and were not trying to make Amer Picon, but they were making a bitter orange liqueur that would pair well with a Czech Pilsner to make Amer-beer.

    At my home bar, I have a bottle of Amer Picon, but I would consider my options once that bottle is drained and then figure out if my bottles of Torani Amer were worth using or whether I should buy the Bittermens product. The Amer-Boudreau replica recipe is pretty close to Amer Picon, and the Bittermens product does give people an easy solution.

    1 Reply
    1. re: yarm

      Good to know. Also, I just realized I cited the wrong mixologist/blogger. Morganthaler may have mentioned it somewhere in his blog, but the recipe I was referring to was, indeed, the one Jamie Boudreau posted on his blog.

    2. Perhaps I'll do a tasting and post the results, as I have some Picon Bierre. It is confusing whether this is the same product as what we call today's Amer Picon. I also have Amere Nouvelle and homemade Amer Boudreau.

      Please follow yarms suggestion elsewhere to NOT infuse the orange nearly as long as Boudreau instructs. I used a 50/50 mix of dried regular and bitter orange peel. The results his hugely strong in the orange and bitter dimension. Perhaps I should add more of the other ingredients until I arrive at something closer to the other two products.

      Regardless, the Bittermen's product is very delicious. I would happily drink it straight, with a squeeze of lemon, and I enjoy it in cocktails.

      -- | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

      9 Replies
      1. re: EvergreenDan

        Thanks for the heads-up. If I read the thread where yarm mentioned that, I certainly forgot it. I'll do a search today for it and save the URL for when I finally get around to making the stuff.

        1. re: EvergreenDan

          Definitely fresh peel made my friend's Picon replica way too bright. The ones made a bar with all dried peel seemed decent.

          And yes, orange peels will take under a week to infuse. A month is excessive (and might be more what happened the first time than what Boudreau actually would recommend if he edited or re-wrote the article).

          1. re: yarm

            Anyone have the link to the thread with Yarm's corrections? I've been searching both through Google and on chowhounds' own site and am finding nothing. I'm thinking I may give this homemade Amer Picon a go in the next week or so.

            1. re: The Big Crunch

              I think his big change was to not infuse as long as Jamie recommends, but maybe he'll comment himself. I used a 50/50 mix of dried sweet and bitter orange peel. I infused the full duration, which made for a strong orange presence, and diluted with vodka to maintain higher proof.

              Also, I think Cio Ciaro rather than Ramazzotti is the way to go. It is now available in MA (for the last year or so).


              1. re: EvergreenDan


                I've just been subbing Cio Ciara in for the Amer Picon for Brooklyns to good effect.

                I'm always happy for a project, but did you find the process of making the Boudreau/Yarm product was worth the time?


                1. re: cacio e pepe

                  That's kind of what I was wondering, as well as the expense of buying a bottle of blood orange bitters, high-proof vodka, and and a bottle of ramazotti.

                  1. re: The Big Crunch

                    The Boudreau recipe with the the Ramazotti is fine - excellent in fact if you're looking to imitate the original Picon (NOT Bierre) flavors - but so much depends on the individual variations of orange zests that your mileage will vary dramatically. So try separate macerations of fresh oranges from your local grocer (scrape the orange with a fingernail and sniff for the quality of the oil) and whatever commercial dried orange peel you might try. Then, blend at the end to taste.

                    Also, if you have access to 95% ABV Everclear, use it. It's much faster and gets more true flavor out of the orange, whether dried or fresh. For other tinctures you might want to back off the ABV, but for citrus, the higher the better.

                    If you want to save some cost, the Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters might be the place to sacrifice a little. In my experience, it may not add as much as you'd hope, especially when using it as a component to another drink. I think I only paid about $5 (mail order from HiTime a couple years back) but not sure of today's going/local rate.

                    You can go a different direction altogether (a la Daniel Shoemaker and Teardrop Lounge) and make your own entirely different orange amer - barrel-aging and all - these can be delicious and go toward a remarkable Brooklyn in their own right.

                  2. re: cacio e pepe

                    The ingredients are cheap. There is no waste. You drink everything except the peel.

                    I don't know if I would make it again, but my version is very bitter (due to the bitter orange peel) and high in proof. A little goes a long way. I didn't like it at first, but now I love it. I'm not sure if it mellowed or I, uh, sharpened (?).

            2. re: EvergreenDan

              Amer Nouvelle tastes quite similar to Amer Picon but is not caramel colored. I much prefer the Picon/ Nouvelle over the Torani Amer, which is not even close imo.

            3. Are we not doing Amaro Ciociaro anymore? Did I miss the switch? Honestly, I threw out my bottle of the Torani garbage as soon as I tasted a Brooklyn with the Amaro Ciociaro and I stopped trying to convince myself to make the Boudreau replica.

              I am excited to try the Bittermen's product as they seem to be universally awesome.

              Has anyone done a taste test with:
              True Amer Picon vs. Torani Amer vs. Amer-Boudreau vs. Amer Nouvelle vs. Amaro Ciociaro?

              I'd be very curious to see those tasting notes for a Picon Punch and Brooklyn.

              1. In one of my notebooks I have a recipe for Amer Picon substitute attributed to David Wondrich (although I cannot remember where I read it):
                15 ml Everclear
                1 ml Angostura Orange
                100 ml Amaro Ciociaro

                It has the virtue of being instantly-mixable, not requiring any advance prep or infusion, and can be easily made up in any quantity you like.

                2 Replies
                1. re: johncb

                  Interesting... This I might like to try.

                  1. re: johncb

                    Hmmm. I like it . . . mainly because I can make it absolutely right now.

                  2. Other dark caramel-orange liqueurs like Bigallet China-China have hit the market. Not a perfect sub for Amer Picon, but it does come close especially in a Brooklyn.